Housegroup Materials: Week 7 (God’s Perspective)

The Bible presents a unified picture of the history of the world and the church that anticipates a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ (Revelation 21:1).

Note: http://archive.bigbible.uk/2011/01/the-weekly-menu/

NIBBLES

  • Exchange travel stories in the way that you normally would. Afterwards, think were they focused on people or places?
  • What questions did your housegroup have last week? What debates were on the forum (http://bit.ly/bigbweek6), which have raised new questions from last week.  

MAIN COURSE

Tom Wright introduces ‘God’s Perspective’:


(Machine read transcript, needs fine tuning)

In the small group, listen to the reading Matthew 28:16-20 as it is read to you. If you are joining online, an audioversion can be found here.

Discuss together your responses to the following questions. (Approx 20-30mins, depending on the size of the group)

  • What did you like best about the passage and why?
  • What did you not like about the passage and why?
  • Which part of the passage is the most important for you and why?
  • Which part of the passage would you leave out today and why?

 

In the printed material, and available on line, you have access to a story and a reflection based on a response to today’s reading.

BB WK 7 Mike King by bigbible

Listen to the story and the reflection: Mike’s story

“Always remember that God was here long before you arrived.” Those were some of the first words that were said to Isabel and myself as we arrived in up-country Sierra Leone. The same ‘wise owl’ also made the Circuit plan, took no notice of my pleas that I was not a Local Preacher, and gave me directions of how to get to a nearby Mende village a few Sundays hence. Thus began for me 35 years of leading worship!

I thought that I had made a big journey from teaching in a London comprehensive to a rural Girls’ boarding school in Africa, but looking back now an equally profound movement happened when I began to train as a Local Preacher. I thought God said “Go” to West Africa – and fortunately my wife heard the same call – but no sooner had we unpacked than I was being called to the next stage of a spiritual journey.

Over the years I have had the opportunity of travelling to many different countries, sometimes as a tourist, and many times as a guest. My present job as Leader of World Church Relationships for the Methodist Church gives me the huge privilege of entering the homes of ‘strangers’ within minutes of leaving an airport. If there is anything better for a traveller than Christian hospitality, I really don’t know what it could be. Many are the times that I have remembered in a strange land that “God is already here” and that I am in the presence of faithful disciples and apostles. Many are the insights that have been shared by reading the Bible in a different context, and this holds true whether I am visiting another country or another part of the wonderfully diverse British Isles.

God continues to put me alongside others. God invites me to move from my comfortable armchair of thinking and makes me restless. God continues to open my eyes to new opportunities and keeps saying “Go”.  Sometimes I obey as a faithful disciple and join in with God where He needs me to be. And find God there.

Reflection

This is a passage that down the ages has influenced the great outreach movements of the Church, and has often been used to undergird overseas mission enterprises. The early disciples were called by Jesus to go and evangelise others, and in doing so became apostles; which is the same call that many Christians have even today.

However, there is so much more here.  Jesus had previously told the disciples to go back home to Galilee.  It is there, ‘at home’, that Jesus now comes to them to proclaim that the Kingdom is present, to announce that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Here is the Kingdom, says Jesus, embodied in me, and if you understand this truth in the normality of your own homes, then from that firm base reach out to others in confidence. You can’t keep it to yourselves – GO and share!

Making disciples of all nations starts with ordinary Christians witnessing by word and deed alongside their neighbours whoever they are and wherever they live. It’s not exotic, it’s ordinary; and actually it should be second-nature. Those  called by God to Christian work somewhere else usually make a new ‘home’ very quickly, and it is in this new Galilee that Jesus speaks again, “I am with you always…” No sooner have Christians arrived and settled into new situations or countries than God affirms his presence and authority, and then opens up new opportunities to spread His truth. If we pray and take time to listen, God is continually inviting us to join in with, and be committed to, God’s mission in God’s world.

In this dynamic passage disciples are being encouraged to be on the move in all kinds of ways. The Church is meant to be a movement. The promise is that Jesus goes with us “to the very end of the age.”

 

Mike King is Leader of the World Church Relationships team of the Methodist Church in Britain.

 

 PUDDING

Steamed Pudding:

  • ‘We hear experts proclaiming that science has disproved God – without realising that the ‘god’ you could squeeze out of the picture by more and more scientific discoveries is not the God whom Christians worship.’ (p140, Tom Wright’s book). See our interview with ‘Test of Faith’ (http://bit.ly/intscif), and discuss how science and religion can work together.
  • This week’s readings have dealt with the mockery of Jesus. How do we continue to see this in our everyday lives? How much of this is evident in the media, and how can we kick back constructively?
  • Jesus didn’t care for public opinion, why do we so much? Easter looks outward, and requires us to ‘go tell’. What do we need to change to partake in God’s mission in the world: locally and globally?

Access and join in the debates online: http://bit.ly/bigbweek7

 

Chilled Pudding:

  • A number of churches use ‘The Stations of the Cross’, with special significance for Catholic churches. See http://bit.ly/stationsc. Create a Cross, and leave prayers at the cross, giving the issues to God by nailing them up.
  • Good Friday – depicted in so many ways, e.g. see http://bit.ly/goodfri on YouTube, etc. How do these help us feel emotions of the events?
  • The world is noisy. How do we find quiet spaces? Pray using the ACTS model: http://www.prayerguide.org.uk/actsmodel.htm

 

AFTER DINNER CHOCS

  • Find the highest point in your local area – what can you see?  What can’t you see?
  • Walk backwards down the street
  • Go on a Ferris wheel
  • Prayer Walk: Observe and pray for your surroundings.
  • Observe a different culture, locally, or whilst travelling, to understand those that you live side by side with.

WEEK 7 (Word.doc) (12baskets have downloadable versions of all files (except the Bible readings): Videos; Reflections; PDF housegroup notes)

Go back to Week 6

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