Giving It Up: Lent 2019

GIVING IT UP : LENT 2019

During Lent 2019 we explored areas where God calls us to give things up - not just for the 40 or so days of Lent - but forever. God calls us to lives that are fruitful, fulfilling and an ongoing adventure with him, and in order to take hold of all he has for us, we sometimes have to let go of the things that hinder.

Below are links to sermon notes, study questions and other resources for small groups to use. 

   

Sunday 10th March: Giving Up Control

Genesis 2.15-17, Matthew 4.1-11 Adam and Eve disobeyed God, thinking that they knew better than him, with disastrous consequences. While being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus denied his own impulses and followed God's will. In the modern world, where we are used to having control over so many things, we often fail to seek God's will for our lives and try to call all the shots ourselves. God wants us to deny ourselves and give him the final say when we are charting out the course of our lives.

   

Sunday 17th March: Giving Up Expectations

Genesis 12:1-4a; John 3:1-17  Abraham followed God's call to leave his homeland and travel to the place God promised his descendants, even though he didn't know how it would all work out. When Nicodemus is talking to Jesus, he has a hard time understanding what God's grace is really about because he is used to thinking in terms of religious structures. But in the end, Abraham goes, but Nicodemus holds back. For us, the challenge is one of trust - when God calls us to action, what will we give up to say 'yes'?

   

Sunday 24th March: Giving Up Enmity

Matthew 5.43-48  Loving our enemies can feel as idealistic a notion as instantaneous world peace, but Jesus showed us that caring even for those who persecute you is a real, actionable mandate that we can carry out by following his example. Jesus is challenging and practical as he suggests that enmity can be dealt with through prayer and hospitality towards those who have wronged us. We call Jesus the Prince of Peace, but do we really believe peace is possible in our world today?

   

Sunday 31st March: Giving Up Life

Luke 4.38-44  Capernaum was the backdrop of many of Jesus’ miracles and his base for much of his three years of ministry with the disciples. And somewhere, quite hidden in many of the gospel accounts is the hospitality of one woman – Peter’s mother-in-law. It seems that Jesus stayed in her house whenever in the area, and it became a hub for those who wished to meet Jesus. Encountering Jesus meant a radical reprioritisation of how family life worked, how hospitality was offered and an openess to the unexpected.

   

Sunday 7th April: Giving Up Superiority

John 4.1-29, 39-42  Jesus broke all kinds of social conventions by speaking to a woman in public, a Samaritan no less, whose own life was so complex that it could have really tarnished Jesus' reputation as a holy man. But Jesus brought his message of grace and freedom to the woman, knowing that in her humility, she would actually hear and respond,. God challenges us to give up the artificial lines we draw to make ourselves feel superior to others, to transcend the barriers and rules that lead to inequality and judgementalism.

   

Sunday 14th April: Giving Up Popularity

Matthew 21.1-11 What a welcome Jesus got as he entered Jerusalem, hailing him as an honoured king. The crowds loved Jesus on Palm Sunday, but just a few days later a different crowd was calling for his death and the release of a murderer. Popularity and acclaim in the eyes of others is fleeting, and if we put all our faith in it we will be very disappointed. Instead, God calls us to put our faith in God's unending love and grace- something that will never go away, and will sustain us through the times when others have abandoned us.