02 | Our Father

prodigalOne day Jesus’ disciples asked Him how they should pray. Jesus told them to start by calling God ‘our Father’.

‘Hang on, Jesus!’ they must have thought. ‘Only special people, the priests, can find God’s presence in the Holy Place in our Temple. Only the High Priest can go into the Most Holy Place – and that’s once a year!  Are you really saying we can get close to God, speak to Him intimately, know His love and care as sons and daughters?’

‘Yes,’ Jesus would have said. He even called God ‘dad’ (‘Abba’ in His native language). Well! That really was shocking!

Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father, and so much springs from this: being children makes us brothers and sisters. We need to be confident and secure in our sonship.

 

Discussion: Put your heads together and make a list of all the things a good father should be. Can we say God is all these things? How do we get on relating to God as ‘our father’, or ‘dad’?

Read the story Jesus told of the loving father and his two sons (Luke 15:11-32). Talk about which of the sons you’re most like, and why. How would the father really have liked his older son to think and behave?

 

Scripture refs: Matthew 6:9-15, John 1:9-13, Galatians 4:4-71 John 3:1
Wednesday 6 to Tuesday 12 April 2016
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01 | God is Awesome!

Astonishing God. Utterly magnificent, supremely higher, unknowably greater than we could imagine. He knows everything, sees everything, has everything. Nothing surprises Him.

He is the source, the creator. All majesty, splendour, beauty, goodness and love come from Him.

It’s a fearful thing to encounter this God and meeting Him always changes us. Broadly speaking there are three ways we respond when we meet God:

1 Oblivious

Most of the time we live unaware of God’s presence. Sometimes we talk about God “showing up” when we encounter Him in a particularly potent way, but in reality He’s always been here. When we meet Him it’s because He opens our eyes to His nearness. Maybe it’s more accurate to say we turn up.

God being already here is good news because it means anyone can encounter this awesome, wild, transforming God.

Action: Sit in silence and ask God to make you aware of His presence

2 In fearful conviction

Time and time again scripture describes people’s awe when they meet God, like the following:

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

This is intense stuff: God’s awesomeness inspires a holy fear. When we see God our lives are thrown into His light. What we do at this point is crucial: if our hearts are tender toward God this fear will lead us through conviction into life and worship.

Action: Ponder on or sing this hymn, or another that describes God’s majesty
Discussion:
Do you get stuck in condemnation, and what would change that?

3 Worshipping

In His love our formidable God says “do not be afraid”, and this love leads us into wonder, into worship. Worship is the natural and life-giving response to God-wonder.

Action: Spend some extra time worshipping, on your own or together in agape
Discussion:
Describe a time you were bowled over by the awesomeness of God

 

Scripture refs: Genesis 28:16, Isaiah 6:5, Matthew 17:2-4, Revelation 1:17
Wednesday 30 to Tuesday 5 April 2016
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