Hearing about, experiencing and responding to the love of God.
Paul Bickley starts our new series, The Search for God, speaking on Psalm 42 and 43.
These psalms are written by someone experiencing a spiritual desert. He believes in God, but he doesn’t feel God’s presence. The psalms hint at some possible causes of this spiritual dryness. They also hint at some responses.
Tom Biddulph concludes our Lent series, speaking from Ecclesiastes 12.
Ecclesiastes teaches us that the pleasures of life can be enjoyed as gifts from God, but that they’re not ultimately fulfilling and they can’t offer lasting satisfaction.
The only possible response is to, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” and to “remember your creator in the days of your youth”.
Greg Cook speaks on Ecclesiastes 7.
The Teacher asks, “who can straighten what God has made crooked?” The life of Jesus in many ways looked crooked: he was born to a mother out of wedlock in a stable, trained as a humble carpenter, entered in triumph on a donkey, was betrayed and finally put to death as a Roman slave.
But after the resurrection, Jesus shows the wounds of his suffering to his disciples. They are overjoyed. The end, as the Teacher said, really is better than the start.
Paul Bickley speaks from Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.
The Teacher is wary of God, and suggests that worshipers approach with caution. He reflects the experience of those who actually see God in the Bible – they find themselves completely overwhelmed by His presence.
We ought to recapture this sense of the holiness and power of God. We worship only by his power and grace, like Peter who was called again to follow Jesus again after his denial.
Natan Mladin speaks from Ecclesiastes 1:12-18.
We live in a world that prefers knowledge, information, and data to wisdom. Ecclesiastes teaches that wisdom is limited, not least by death. It can only take its place in our lives when it’s rooted in fear of the Lord, and the knowledge that wisdom is not ultimately a thing but a person – Jesus Christ.
Becca Bickley speaks from Ecclesiastes 3.
Ecclesiastes 3 doesn’t say that life has a slow and orderly pace. Instead, it paints a picture that says life has huge variety and beauty, but where it is sometimes hard to detect God’s hand.
He is always at work. We need to ask him where He is in our experience and learn how to be attentive to him, even in times of confusion.
Paul Bickley speaks from Ecclesiastes 2.
Ecclesiastes is the voice of a man searching for meaning in a world where meaning has collapsed. He insists that life ‘under the sun’ is like smoke or vapor.
The book reminds us of “our total incapacity to find the meaning and completion of our lives on our own” (Eugene Peterson).
Rich Barton speaks on 2 Corinthians 3:13-18.
Moses met with God. His face came to reflect God’s glory but it gradually the glory faded – his face was not covered to hide the glory, but to hide the fading glory. When Paul says that our faces are unveiled, he’s suggesting a depth of relationship that even Moses couldn’t experience. That is the privilege we have when we gather to worship.
Paul Bickley speaks from Psalm 95:3-5.
Nearly every conceivable desire, if taken beyond its boundaries, would force us to sacrifice everything – and in the end for nothing. There’s nothing that can completely and truly satisfy. Worship helps us train our desires on God, the One to whom we can give nothing but who gives us everything, even His own Son.