War of the Worlds

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil is the line of the Lord’s Prayer we are focussing on this week. As we ask God to ‘lead us not’ are we at the same time making sure we do all that we can ourselves to avoid temptation? If I am on a diet and have a weakness for chocolate or biscuits, I make sure there are none of those things in my house; what do we do about avoiding temptation to sin? If we keep leading ourselves into temptation, how can God deliver us from evil? As we begin to think on these things, let’s turn to worship.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord – 1997 Mission: Impossible?

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 20 (Dramatised reading – you can finish listening after it says “the Kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace” – which is verse 30)

What are the things that threaten you?
Threaten your peace of mind, your family, your livelihood?
What is scaring you at the moment, or might soon begin to? What are the things that make you lose sleep or have bad dreams? What thoughts keep coming in to your mind and won’t go away?

Get a pen and some paper and write them down (if you don’t want anyone else to see this, write it in Sanskrit).

Now look at 2 Chronicles 20 and see how Jeshoshaphat and Israel dealt with the terrors that stalked them.
They remembered God’s dealings with them in the past and brought their present problem to Him.

Write down what they remembered in one column and see if you can write next to it something you remember of God speaking to you or working in your life in the past.

Then look back at the things that are troubling you and say the following prayer over them: I have no power to face this vast army that is attacking me. I do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – 2004 Seek!
I am a Friend of God – 2011 The Cover Up

Talk – Jumping Like Jehoshaphat from 1993 War of the Worlds weekend (begins with War of the Worlds theme played by our worship band; the podcast has two talks back to back, feel free to stop listening after the first)

Whatever your circumstances then, let’s give thanks to God.

Let Everything that has Breath praise the Lord – 2007 Destination of a Lifetime
We will praise You – 2006 War of the Worlds

Revelation 3:10 says “Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

In my book What’s Going On? I write:
Hour signifies a definite period and one which will not go on forever, but ‘Temptation’ would better be translated as testing or trial. The words translated ‘keep you from’ are used only here and in John 17:15 I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from evil.
When we pray ‘deliver us from evil’ the original sense of it is that we will be in God’s arms through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ and beyond it eternally; not that He will remove us from being there day by day.

So Jesus is promising the Philadelphians to be holding them through the trial. A fuller translation of verse 10 would be I also will watch over you protectively through the hour of testing trial and temptation. As they spent their lives serving Him, so He would be with them in the difficulties faced living for God on this earth.

In Matthew 26 we read of Jesus’ own Hour of Trial, and here we see that His disciples let Him down badly. And he went to the disciples, and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What, could you not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (vv40,41). Jesus is promising in Revelation 3 not to be like those disciples, but to stand by His church in the difficult times.

In some ways what He says is an echo of His final words in Matthew’s Gospel: Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20)

Psalm 117 read by David Suchet (the shortest chapter in the Bible!)

Group times – 2006 War of the Worlds
This ebook on the Lord’s Prayer began in the form of the Weekend Booklet for the 2002 weekend Knees Worn Through. Greatly expanded since then, it takes the reader through the whole of the Lord’s Prayer in a way that makes it easy to use as a basis for all our prayer.
I want to serve the purpose of God in my Generation – 1997 Mission: Impossible?
Final worship session – 2011 The Cover Up

Thanksgiving Forgiving Giving

The next line of the Lord’s Prayer is “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us“. Who has sinned against you? Have you forgiven them? God forgave you all the sins you will ever commit 2,000 years before you were born – is that the way you forgive those who sin against you? Let’s come in to God’s presence.

Amazing Grace – 2005 Chapter Three

Bible Reading: Matthew 18:23-35

For the weekend 2001 A Grace Odyssey there were a number of Bible studies done by the groups looking at the parables of Grace in the Bible. We have just read one of those parables. This is what it said about that parable in the booklet for the weekend:

Jesus told this parable in response to Peter’s question……how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?

Jesus explains its not about quantity, but quality. That is, the number of times we forgive someone is not what counts, nor is the size of what we are forgiving…..what matters is that we are people who forgive, full stop.

In this parable the forgiving person is the king. He wants to ‘settle accounts with his servants’. That means to make sure that there are no debts between them. Probably, given the nature of the king in this story, he was more concerned to make sure that he didn’t owe any of them anything rather than to find out if they owed him anything.

Along comes this particular servant (let’s call him Cedric) who owed him ten thousand talents. My NIV footnote says ‘millions of pounds’. That’s ridiculous! How could a servant ever get to the stage of owing millions of pounds to their master. I can think of only one way…… by fiddling the books or mishandling them unintentionally(remember the story of Nick Leeson who bankrupt Barings Bank by doing just that?). I have no doubt that Jesus expected his listeners to think when they heard this that “Cedric has had his fingers in the till!”.

In those days, just for owing money, you could be jailed. If on top of that you had stolen the money you were probably up for execution. In any case, kings didn’t get asked to give reasons, if they wanted to kill someone they had no-one to stop them. Cedric had been found out and was in trouble. In fact, the king was fairly lenient…..he was going to sell the man and his family as slaves to get some of the debt back (I doubt they would have come to several million pounds worth though).

The servant begged for time to be able to pay (he would never have been able to pay that much back), and amazingly the king decided just to forget the whole thing. “What’s a million or two pounds between friends, Cedric old bean?”. The debt had been totally cancelled. That is a picture of Grace, and also one of mercy.

Now, I know the story gets a bit nasty after that. But I want today just to focus on the bit above. To me it is a picture of us coming before God. We are in debt. He is the King and the Judge. There is no-one higher than Him that we can appeal to. Trouble is, our debts are all to Him. And we owe Him far more than we can ever pay begin to pay back.

Jesus always paints God in a fairly harsh light in His parables. Actually we don’t have to ‘fall on our knees before Him’ and beg as did old Cedric. We don’t even have to ask!! He has already announced “I FORGIVE YOU”. All we have to do is go up to Him and say “Thank you for your forgiveness, I receive it”. Yet Jesus tells it this way because He is then emphasising even more how big the Grace filled heart of God is…..you can just about believe a human king might have treated Cedric like this, but you wouldn’t have believed it if the king had just said “cancelled” before Cedric begged.

So, how was all this an answer to Peter’s question? Of course, Jesus goes on to show that Cedric was a rat, and he wouldn’t even let poor old Egbert off the fiver he owed him. If we are to be receivers of grace then we need to be dispensers of it too. And that means we need to be forgivers. All the time. We need to live lives which reflect the grace of Jesus….that way our lives become Grace Odysseys day after day.

You can read the rest of the notes on the parables on the 2001 A Grace Odyssey pages of the TFG legacy website.

Just focussing on that one parable and the notes above, however, think through these questions:
1/ What is forgiveness? What does it look like in day to day life?
2/ Are you more like ‘Cedric’, ‘Egbert’ or the King in this parable?
3/ How do we become more like the King?
4/ Can you honestly pray ‘forgive me my sins as I forgive others‘ ?

Group Presentation – 2015 Grace Awakens
Your Glory is My Will – 2002 Knees Worn Through (composed and sung by Adam Knight)

Talk – Our Gratitude Attitude – from 2001 A Grace Odyssey

This ebook on the Lord’s Prayer began in the form of the Weekend Booklet for the 2002 weekend Knees Worn Through. Greatly expanded since then, it takes the reader through the whole of the Lord’s Prayer in a way that makes it easy to use as a basis for all our prayer.
Thank You for Saving Me – 2003 Love, Honour, Obey
Thank You – Salvation Songs – 2000 Signposts to the Lost
Beautiful Saviour – 2008 It’s Life, Jim
O Lord My God – 2011 The Cover Up
One Way Jesus – 2009 Bride to Be

Pentecost – Whitsun

The great Christian festival, the birth of the Church, the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ. Let’s celebrate! Our talk today was recorded specially for us by TFG’s Leader, Leondre Douglas.

I am a New Creation – 1998 Kingdom Come

READING: Acts chapter 2 (NIV dramatised)

We can’t force the Holy Spirit to do whizz-bang things but most of us will have memories of occasions when He has shown up in power. Were you in St Peter’s Chapel at Bradwell on Sea back in the early 90s on a junior TFG weekend? What about that time on a Saturday evening at Annan Court, or Westbrook, or the Frontier Centre, or … when you just knew that you knew that you knew that God had touched your life and you would never be the same?

It’s almost impossible to put it into words to describe it to someone else. John Wesley simply wrote “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Sit down and write 100 words to try to describe one experience you have had where the Holy Spirit moved in your life, then pin it somewhere or keep it in your Bible and read it whenever you have doubts or are finding things hard.

If you have never given your life to Jesus, Pentecost is a great time to do it.

Fluffy Sheep – 2002 The Body Shop
Praise is Rising – 2008 It’s Life Jim

Leondre Douglas has many roles at Twyford, being the leader of TFG and discipling teenagers is one of them. He has recorded this talk especially for this week’s Virtual TFG Weekend:

Pentecost talk by Leondre Douglas
There is Power in the Name of Jesus – 1994 Stay Tuned There’s More to Come

At the end of 10 days of praying “Thy Kingdom Come” let’s use those words once more to pray for people, and today we concentrate on people we shared (or do share) our school days with.

Think of:
2 or 3 from that group who are Christians and pray that they will seek to live Kingdom lives day by day;
3 or 4 who perhaps have drifted from faith that God’s Kingdom will impact their lives this week and they will be made to contemplate God again;
4 or 5 who are not believers:
Loving God, please get my friends on the road where they see You running to meet them. Thank You that You welcome us with joy however far or however long we have been away.

Official video for Thy Kingdom Come

FAITH AT HOME for parents with children or teenagers. Resources from Church of England.

Don’t Let my Love Grow Cold – 2005 Bedrock
Come Lord Jesus / There must be More than This – 2007 Destination of a Lifetime
More Love, More Power – 1994 Stay Tuned There’s More to Come
When the Spirit of the Lord – 1996 All you need is Love
That moment when the Holy Spirit moved
undefinedMore than ever people are asking “What’s Going On?”
For nearly 2,000 years the Book of Revelation has been providing the answer to that question.
In this eBook I help to explain some of the imagery used in Revelation and show how it summarises and reveals the message of the whole Bible.
Click the image to purchase from my secure site.
This ebook on the Lord’s Prayer began in the form of the Weekend Booklet for the 2002 weekend Knees Worn Through. Greatly expanded since then, it takes the reader through the whole of the Lord’s Prayer in a way that makes it easy to use as a basis for all our prayer.undefined