WEEKLY SPECIALS for #bigread2011

Today, Lent begins, and with it the opportunity to read Tom Wright’s book Lent for Everyone: Matthew daily. Next week, there’s the opportunity to join the housegroups, either in a physical housegroup (and then partake in the online conversations to engage with other groups undertaking the same readings), or online only, in which you engage with the debates/post your reflections, etc. on the forum.

All the housegroup materials are FREE and available online.

Mardi Gras/Fair Feast (8th March)

The Mardi Gras carnival was seen as a last “fling” before the beginning of the Lenten period, when the religiously faithful would refrain from a number of indulgences of the “flesh”, including eating meat.

See http://bit.ly/bbbigfeast for the latest information on the Fair Feast Mardi Gras celebrations, an event to kick off the Lent course.

1. God’s People (w/c 14th March)

Matthew 1-6: Focus: Matthew 4:18-25; Matthew 5:1-12

The Bible is the family history of the Christian church

  • The relevance of the Bible, and the gospel of Matthew in particular, with the opportunity to really delve in and think about a specific passage.
  • How the Bible speaks to our family history and identity as a Christian community, and what it means to be one of God’s people.

2. God’s Provision (w/c 21st March)

Matthew 7-10: Focus on Matthew 8:23-27

The Bible reveals how God who created the world provided his Son, Jesus Christ to redeem it from sin through a new creation.

  • The centrality of Christ to understanding the Bible and Matthew’s witness to who Jesus is and what he has done for us. An opportunity to share experiences of God’s provision for our lives through Jesus
  • The Biblical challenge with regard to ‘good stewardship’ in Climate Week.

3 God’s Promises (w/c 28th March)

Matthew 11-15: Focus on Matthew 11:1-19

The Bible contains ‘his precious and very great promises’ (2 Peter 1:4) for us to ‘read, mark and inwardly digest’.

  • The many promises of God found in scripture, especially in Matthew’s Gospel, in discipleship training, particularly in generating ‘scripture fuelled courage’, in a world where God provides ‘a time and a place for everything’.
  • The day to day relevance of the Bible, and an opportunity to share experiences of God’s faithfulness and how trusting his promises is rewarded.

4 God’s Parables (w/c 4th April)

Matthew 15-20: Focus on Matthew 18:21-35

The Bible uses stories to awaken us to what God wants for us in this world and the next. We can see how our story fits with his.

  • The importance of understanding the stories that Jesus told, specifically the parables. How we can apply them in our everyday lives – the Bible is not ‘history’ but a living text. How Matthew told those stories, and how our own stories fit, with a particular focus upon the question of ‘forgiveness’.
  • Sharing experiences of how we’ve looked to understand our own God-given giftings, and how that has affected our ‘story’. To deserve the accolade ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’, what is required in the way that you live?

5 God’s Purpose (w/c 11th April)

Matthew 21-24: Focus on Matthew 21:33-45, Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 24:45-51

The Bible sets human history in the perspective revealed by Christ’s resurrection, his gathering of God’s people, building of the kingdom and promised return.

  • The Bible’s relevance to hope for the future and our service of ‘the kingdom of the world (becoming) the kingdom of our God and of his Christ’ (Revelation 11:15), as ‘chosen people’.
  • Sharing experiences of how the Biblical good news of Jesus and the purpose of God for the world impacts and can better impact our community, as we undertake ‘whole-life Christianity’, and look to help those who are ‘broken’ in our midst.

We recognise that many housegroups stop at this point. The materials below allow for the conversations to continue online:

6 God’s Power (w/c 18th April)

Matthew 25-26: Focus on Matthew 25: 31-46

The Bible points to the power of the Holy Spirit who inspired it and will inspire its readers.

  • The importance of the Holy Spirit to understanding and use of the Bible as the Word of God speaking through inspired human words and actions.
  • A questioning of ‘what is power’, and how we can each contribute in small ways to contribute to a bigger picture.

7 God’s Perspective (w/c 25th April)

Matthew 26-28: Focus on Matthew 28:16-20

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).

  • Looking at how the Bible contains ‘apocalypse’ or the unveiling of things to come which both develop and fulfil human history: ‘The Kingdom is here’ and we need to ‘go and share’.
  • An exploration of some of those questions that vex us, including science and faith, the media, and how we deal with public opinion.

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.