October 21, 2012 by Barry Parker
Recall last week’s sermon, the first in the series on suffering, where we considered a) the source of suffering and b) embracing the mystery of God’s goodness and God’s sovereignty.1. What is suffering? Are there degrees or categories of suffering?2. Thomas Merton once said, “The truth that many people don’t understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.&r…
September 30, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. What is the Gospel, the good news of Jesus? (Hint: the last two sermons tell us the why and how).2. There are three ‘building blocks’ for the Gospel, and we have considered the first two in the last two sermons. The technical terms are Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. In your own words, whatdo the first two mean for you?3. Read Romans 8:17-27. In Romans 8:17, Paul is talking of Roman adoption practices where the child receives all of the possible inheritance. Using that analogy, what does it mean for a follower o…
June 17, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. Think of a person you know who you consider to be wise. What are the characteristics you value about their wisdom? What is wisdom?
2. Read Proverbs 3:6 . We live in a world of technique, process and recipes for a better life. What does it mean for wisdom to be gained through life as a path? If true, how do we get wisdom? (Picture walking and hiking on a path).
3. In Proverbs 3:3 , love and faithfulness refer to God’s commitment to us, His children. Why is this vital for wisdom? Why do we need to inscribe them on our hearts?
May 27, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. Do you ever have trouble seeing the big picture? Is it challenging to ‘connect the dots’ when you consider what God is up to in the great span of cosmic history and human experience? When we go on a journey, we note progressive signposts that help us to arrive at our destination. Read Genesis 1:2 ; Genesis 2:7 ; Ezekiel 37:1-14 ; John 3:1-12 , John 14:15-20 ; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 ; Romans 8:1-11 and Galatians 5:22-23 . Now, connect the signposts. In what direction are they pointing?
2. Read Ezekiel 37:1-14 . The bones are identified a…
April 29, 2012 by Barry Parker
We have been studying Mark since January and we are now coming to a major pivot point in this Gospel. The focus for Mark and his inspired point to us has been that of the identity. Jesus is the returning King who comes to meet our deepest need – not necessarily what we think we want or need. This passage builds that clear identity that will, after chapter 8, all focus on the Cross.
1. The first encounter (Mark 7:24-30 ) between Jesus and a woman in need sees a number of well-established boundaries crossed. Can you list and discuss some of…
April 8, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. We know that 2,000 years ago, in the time of Jesus, women had very low to non-existent status. What are we to learn from the women as the first witnesses to this most earth shattering event?
2. List all the possible explanations for the Resurrection – other than the historic fact that it happened. How does Mark’s account in these eight verses undermine and dispel all of the alternatives?
3. In verse seven, a young man dressed in white sitting inside the tomb, aka the angel, tells the women to go and tell the disciples and Peter. Wh…
February 26, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. Read Psalm 89:9 & 104:6-7 and Jonah 1:1-16 . The raging seas in the Old Testament were always a symbol of chaos, evil, overwhelming power and forces opposing God. The ‘storm’ also symbolized the trials of one close to God whose only help is God (read Psalm 46:13 ). The only one able to still the storm is God himself (read Psalm 107:23-30 ). What is the most overwhelming natural force that you have ever experienced? What was the worst storm of your life?
2. Read again Jonah 1:1-16 & Mark 4:35-41 . What are the similarities in the sto…
February 5, 2012 by Barry Parker
1. The Sabbath in the Old Testament was given to teach Israel her rest was ultimately in God alone. Read Exodus 20:8-11 & 31:12-18. Discuss what the Sabbath is designed for compared to our notion of days off from work or vacation.
2. Jesus reminds his hearers of King David. Read 1 Samuel 21:1-9 . It doesn’t appear to be connected to the Sabbath but it does highlight a violation of the letter of the law. Why would Jesus respond like this?
3. Read Mark 2:27-28 . What is Jesus trying to teach the Pharisees and us?
Read Mark 3:1-6…