Showing posts with label St Neots (Open Door). Show all posts
Showing posts with label St Neots (Open Door). Show all posts

17 October 2010

St Neots (Open Door) - Singleness

This morning I joined Donna at Open Door in the Priory Centre in St Neots. The music and singing were good, and then Ian Hoile gave a helpful address on the topic of 'singleness' as part of the series they've been running, 'Sex and the City'.

The Priory CentreIan pointed out that there are rising numbers of single people in the UK and gave some statistics to support that claim. People may be single for a variety of reasons, perhaps they simply haven't found a partner yet, a spouse has died, or they've been divorced etc.

Ian referred particularly to 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 25-40. He said that the main theme is learning to serve and honour the Lord. Singleness and marriage are both gifts ('gift' has the sense of 'gracing'). Sometimes it may be best to remain single and in this context Paul refers to the 'present crisis'.

There was a famine and considerable social upheaval at the time he was writing. Under such circumstances it may well be easier for those who are single. Being single also brings opportunities as there's no requirement to consider other family members.

Verse 39 provides some advice for finding a spouse.

However there are also challenges to being single. These have to do with putting life on hold, we are not called to do that. Our lives are for honouring and pleasing the Lord. Single people sometimes run the risk of becoming over committed and burning out, leading over full lives.

Loneliness and isolation can become serious issues. It's important for single people to have good circles of friends, talk about the issues in their lives, and have mentors. Families in the church should remember single people and invite them for meals and for other family events.

28 February 2010

St Neots (Open Door) - Spirit and Word

During a time of praise and worship Tony shared a call from the Lord about the need to rejoice. A pair of glassesThis struck me as straight from Yahweh's heart.

There was an announcement about 'Hit the Streets' in Rushden, it will be a day of training in 'Treasure Huntiing' run by the Kings Arms from Bedford.

Scott from Biggleswade had been invited to speak this morning and began by telling us a little about his forthcoming move to Leicester, a very diverse city in terms of people groups.

His main address was based on Hebrews 1:1-3. He asked whether a church can be both Spirit based and Word based, many seem to be one or the other while some try to be both but end up with little power in either. The church in Acts was birthed by the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21), but they also devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching. For maturity we need a balance between Word and Spirit.

Scott quoted from AW Tozer who said, 'We must not pick passages, the only thing that can make a whole Christian is a whole Bible.'

Next, Scott worked through the Bible systematically. In the Old Testament we see the creation, the fall, and then the fact that Adam and Eve hide from the Lord and have to leave the garden, but we also read that the woman's offspring will crush the enemy (Genesis 3:13-14). We read of Noah and Abraham, the exodus and the law, the covenant and the phophets who speak about holiness. There are three main themes throughout - holiness, covenant, and the coming King.

In the New Testament the gospels describe Jesus' life. In Acts we read of Peter's first message which is really a theological treatise! (Acts 2:14-41) The letters unpack the detail and then Revelation goes back to speak once more of the coming King.

Understanding it in our own wisdom and learning only, we get a rather blurry view of the Bible, but when we put on the 'sight correcting spectacles' of Christ and look through him we see clearly.

Hebrews 1:1-3 shows that jesus has spoken with all authority. He is our revelation. he is the Word and we are called to be devoted to him. He fulfilled the law completely. He display's the Father's glory. he is the representation of the Father. He healed people and set them free. He upholds everything, he maintains us in life as a gift of grace. He died on the cross (the only necessary sacrifice), so we are now free. He rose again. He sits with the Father, when we go into the world we carry his presence and authority.

Anyone who teaches must focus on Jesus, we should read the whole Bible as a record of covenant love. Allow the truths of Hebrews 1:1-3 to set you free. And keep it all in balance, don't focus on anything or anyone but Jesus.

01 November 2009

St Neots (Open Door) - Obedience

Today I met with the saints in big church in town. Gavin and Fiona live near Peterborough and will soon be leaving Open Door to begin something new in their home area.Paying attention Gavin spoke about obedience - their own original plans and intentions have had to change as the Lord has unfolded his plan for their lives.

He read Hosea 3:1-5 which provides an example of obedience in the extreme. Hosea's wife was a prostitute and had ended up in the slave market, his love for her was such that he was prepared to spend all the funds he could raise to buy her back. He had married her in obedience to the Almighty and now he was showing his love to her again, also in obedience.

We need to see ourselves, as Hosea clearly did, through the Lord's eyes. And it's not just a matter of words but of actions and truth. Like Hosea's wife Gomer (and like Israel in Hosea's day) we need to know just how much we are loved and how much we've been forgiven. Obedience needs to be like Hosea's - motivated by love, progressive, in accordance with Father's will, and clearly set forth in his word.

Here is my own understanding of Gavin's analysis of obedience.

Motivated by love - there are so many other possible motives, but none of them is sufficient. We might want to please the Lord, or achieve something for him, or see more people join the church, or be useful. All of these may be commendable, but without love they will be worth nothing.

Progressive - we cannot see the end from the beginning, but Father can. When he guides us he will usually show us the way step by step and we need to take those steps in faith, trusting that he will show us the next step, and the next, and the next.

In accordance with Father's will - there is no point in trying to achieve my goal. The Almighty always has in mind his goal. Don't pray, 'Lord, please prosper my efforts to do something for you'. Instead find out what he wants you to to do and pray for that.

Clearly set forth in his word - the principles are all there. Obedience is not difficult to grasp, it's simply a matter of loving the Lord and loving one another. Those are his commandments, if we obey those everything else will follow.

Gavin and Fiona are clear where their future path lies, though of course not ultimately where it will take them.

Gavin continued with a reminder that we need to hear his word to 'go again', and it must be from the heart. Hosea heard and acted, and like him we must give up self in order to love and obey. Are we living messages of love and obedience in the world? Do others see the Lord through us? We must be good news, not merely preach it.

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