Friday, December 15: The emerging message

All on a mission to restore God’s values

All the scriptures for Sunday, December 17

Mon, Dec 11: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Tue, Dec 12: Psalm 126, Luke 1:46-55

Wed, Dec 13: John 1: 6-8, 19-28

Thur, Dec 14: 1 Thess 5:16-24

This week the Word has taken us from Isaiah’s prophecy about One sent to renew and restore and rebuild, through God’s promise to bless again where there had been judgment, and to bring a Messiah to be a light to Gentiles as well as His own people. The promise unfolds with Mary’s humility in her response and John the Baptist’s challenge to the crowds, and leaves us with an exhortation to always be attentive to what God is highlighting for our attention, through words of revelation.

All around us we may see social breakdown, political uncertainty, economic challenges and pressing needs — but God has set out His purposes clearly, and is still speaking to us about them.

He is seeking to bring people back into relationship with Himself; we know that. Are we aware that he also seeks to bring institutions and every kind of governance back to Himself — back to His way of doing things, His values, His spiritual domain? We have learned that this is the meaning of the kingdom of God which Jesus continually presented as the headline over His ministry.

Who will do this? His church, as individuals and together, carries on the ministry of the One who Isaiah spoke of, who read the verses in the synagogue and said that it was fulfilled. But it was fulfilled with continuation. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a new spiritual birth was the only way to see (perceive) the kingdom of God. Those who have given themselves to Jesus as Saviour and as Lord of their lives find themselves starting to do what He did, empowered by the same Holy Spirit who empowered Him. This is the new dimension of life – a dimension marked by joy, praise and spiritual authority – that has the capacity to renew and restore and transform.

Mary found herself going beyond anything she could have imagined, beyond her capability and revered for all time as the Saviour’s mother. Praise and joy, not shame, was her expression. John came into his call, a difficult one that would inevitably involve some confrontation and risk. Both lives were essential for the transformation and renewal or trhe Saviour.

We do it the other way round. The transforming, renewing Saviour has changed our lives, and the Holy Spirit draws us to join in His mission to bring righteous, loving change to others.

Go out and change the world? A tough call, but we do it one person at a time, one situation at a time; and the same anointing that empowered Jesus is the anointing that has us proclaiming good news to the poor and poor in spirit.

All the discussion starters together

  1. If Jesus took this passage (the first two sentences at least) and applied it to Himself, how might it apply to us?
  2. How does the Sovereign Lord “make righteousness and praise spring up” before others, today?
  1. What attitudes are contrasted in the Psalm 126/ Luke 1:46-55 (Magnificat) passages?

  2. What promise, or promises, do we see in these passages? Is there a condition attached?

  3. What lessons does Mary’s song have for us, in how we approach God?

The emerging message – all on a mission to restore God’s values

All the scriptures for Sunday, December 17

Mon, Dec 11: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Tue, Dec 12: Psalm 126, Luke 1:46-55

Wed, Dec 13: John 1: 6-8, 19-28

Thur, Dec 14: 1 Thess 5:16-24

This week the Word has taken us from Isaiah’s prophecy about One sent to renew and restore and rebuild, through God’s promise to bless again where there had been judgment, and to bring a Messiah to be a light to Gentiles as well as His own people. The promise unfolds with Mary’s humility in her response and John the Baptist’s challenge to the crowds, and leaves us with an exhortation to always be attentive to what God is highlighting for our attention, through words of revelation.

All around us we may see social breakdown, political uncertainty, economic challenges and pressing needs — but God has set out His purposes clearly, and is still speaking to us about them.

He is seeking to bring people back into relationship with Himself; we know that. Are we aware that He also seeks to bring institutions and every kind of governance back to Himself — back to His way of doing things, His values, His spiritual domain? We have learned that this is the meaning of the kingdom of God which Jesus continually presented as the headline over His ministry.

Who will do this? His church, as individuals and together, carries on the ministry of the One who Isaiah spoke of, who read the verses in the synagogue and said that it was fulfilled. But it was fulfilled with continuation. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a new spiritual birth was the only way to see (perceive) the kingdom of God. Those who have given themselves to Jesus as Saviour and as Lord of their lives find themselves starting to do what He did, empowered by the same Holy Spirit who empowered Him. This is the new dimension of life – a dimension marked by joy, praise and spiritual authority – that has the capacity to renew and restore and transform.

Mary found herself going beyond anything she could have imagined, beyond her capability and revered for all time as the Saviour’s mother. Praise and joy, not shame, was her expression. John came into his call, a difficult one that would inevitably involve some confrontation and risk. Both lives were essential for the transformation and renewal of the Saviour.

We do it the other way round. The transforming, renewing Saviour has changed our lives, and the Holy Spirit draws us to join in His mission to bring righteous, loving change to others.

Go out and change the world? A tough call, but we do it one person at a time, one situation at a time; and the same anointing that empowered Jesus is the anointing that has us proclaiming good news to the poor and poor in spirit.

All the discussion starters together

  1. If Jesus took this passage (the first two sentences at least) and applied it to Himself, how might it apply to us?
  2. How does the Sovereign Lord “make righteousness and praise spring up” before others, today?

  3. What attitudes are contrasted in the Psalm 126/ Luke 1:46-55 (Magnificat) passages?

  4. What promise, or promises, do we see in these passages? Is there a condition attached?

  5. What lessons does Mary’s song have for us, in how we approach God?

  6. Are we more ready to criticise, or more ready to look for how we can make straight the way for the Lord?

  7. Does the call to repent lead us to a sense of condemnation, or to a sense of what God might be preparing us for?

  8. In what ways might the Holy Spirit bring us a word that helps us see the need for repentance?

  9. What would be the tone of that word that helps you know it is from the Lord?

. Are we more ready to criticise, or more ready to look for how we can make straight the way for the Lord?

  1. Does the call to repent lead us to a sense of condemnation, or to a sense of what God might be preparing us for?

  2. In what ways might the Holy Spirit bring us a word that helps us see the need for repentance?

  3. What would be the tone of that word that helps you know it is from the Lord?


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