“How to steal a dragon’s treasure”, Mark 9.30-37

Have you ever fought a dragon? I expect you have. We all have our ‘dragons’ to battle. But how do we know when a dragon is in our way? And, how do we fight it? Is it worth the effort? Are there any rewards?

Oh, yes! Every dragon is hoarding treasure that’s rightfully yours. We take a look at an example of Jesus slaying a ‘dragon’ with his disciples in Mark 9.30-37.

The slides are available here: Dragon’s treasure Mk9 Slides.

God bless, Malcolm

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions.

Thanks again for watching. Have a super day.

“For God Alone”, Class 2

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalms 62:1–2 NRSV)

Sometimes the most basic things in the Christian life suffer. Either because we forget their significance, or we lose inspiration. This class series is designed to refresh our desire for a daily focused time with God – something that is often called a “quiet time”.

The FGAClass2 Handout and FGA2 Slides for the second class are attached.

If you have any questions about quiet times in general or about the class material in particular, please drop me a line.

I hope you find this a blessing.

God bless, Malcolm

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email.

Thanks again for listening and watching. Have a super day.

“For God Alone”. Class 1.

Thames Valley churches of Christ

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalms 62:1–2 NRSV)

Sometimes the most basic things in the Christian life suffer. Either because we forget their significance, or we lose inspiration. This class series is designed to refresh our desire for a daily focused time with God – something that is often called a “quiet time”.

The handouts for the first class and the class series are attached below. The pdf of the slides is here.

If you have any questions about quiet times in general or about the class material in particular, please drop me a line.

I hope you find this a blessing.

God bless, Malcolm

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout”: “What is Burnout?” – VIDEO

Burnout happens when helpful pressure goes on too long, or is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level.
Where burnout leads to a loss of a role or the experience of “failure”, it may produce guilt or shame or low self esteem, which get bound up in the experience of low mood and depression.
There are connections with chronic fatigue, exhaustion, lethargy and depression.
Warning signs include: sleeplessness; persistent feelings of nervousness; low mood, tears, lethargy and exhaustion; poor judgement and moral lapses.
Practical steps: give others permission if they notice signs; conduct regular reviews; find someone who can speak truth into our situation.

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What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout”: “What is Burnout?” – AUDIO

Burnout happens when helpful pressure goes on too long, or is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level.
Where burnout leads to a loss of a role or the experience of “failure”, it may produce guilt or shame or low self esteem, which get bound up in the experience of low mood and depression.
There are connections with chronic fatigue, exhaustion, lethargy and depression.
Warning signs include: sleeplessness; persistent feelings of nervousness; low mood, tears, lethargy and exhaustion; poor judgement and moral lapses.
Practical steps: give others permission if they notice signs; conduct regular reviews; find someone who can speak truth into our situation.

 

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout: Conclusion”


Conclusion: I will serve the Lord. Don’t be soft! Luke 9. 23–24. Don’t despair! There may be scars, and some of those scars may be unavoidable; but always there is grace in our weakness. Do a self-check. Am I giving myself enough time for sleep? Am I taking care with regular days off? Am I investing in godly friendships? Am I self aware about how God gives me inward renewal? How much do I care what people think of me as a Christian? Do I believe the promises of God? Am I rejoicing in the free grace of God towards me? Make a resolution.
I am – and will never, this side of the resurrection, be more than – a creature of dust. I will rest content in my creaturely weakness; I will use the means God has given me to keep going in this life while I can; I will allow myself time to sleep; I will trust him enough to take a day off each week; I will invest in friendships and not be a proud loner; I will take with gladness the inward refreshment he offers me. I will serve the Lord Jesus with a glad and restful zeal with all the energy that he works within me; but not with anxious toil, selfish ambition, the desire for the praise of people, and all the other ugly motivations that will destroy my soul. So help me God.

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout: Conclusion” – AUDIO

Conclusion: I will serve the Lord. Don’t be soft! Luke 9. 23–24. Don’t despair! There may be scars, and some of those scars may be unavoidable; but always there is grace in our weakness. Do a self-check. Am I giving myself enough time for sleep? Am I taking care with regular days off? Am I investing in godly friendships? Am I self aware about how God gives me inward renewal? How much do I care what people think of me as a Christian? Do I believe the promises of God? Am I rejoicing in the free grace of God towards me? Make a resolution.
I am – and will never, this side of the resurrection, be more than – a creature of dust. I will rest content in my creaturely weakness; I will use the means God has given me to keep going in this life while I can; I will allow myself time to sleep; I will trust him enough to take a day off each week; I will invest in friendships and not be a proud loner; I will take with gladness the inward refreshment he offers me. I will serve the Lord Jesus with a glad and restful zeal with all the energy that he works within me; but not with anxious toil, selfish ambition, the desire for the praise of people, and all the other ugly motivations that will destroy my soul. So help me God.

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout: Delight!” – VIDEO

A delight: rejoice in grace, not gift – Luke 10.17–20. Rejoice that your name is in heaven, not in achievements. If joy is to motivate us to gospel work, then joy must be rooted in something outside of the fruits of our work. When our joy comes from our gifts and our successes, we will always be under pressure.
The remedy is to glory much in grace. It is a privilege to be used in ministry; but it is a much greater privilege to be recipients of grace.

 

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout: Delight!” – AUDIO

A delight: rejoice in grace, not gift – Luke 10.17–20. Rejoice that your name is in heaven, not in achievements. If joy is to motivate us to gospel work, then joy must be rooted in something outside of the fruits of our work. When our joy comes from our gifts and our successes, we will always be under pressure.
The remedy is to glory much in grace. It is a privilege to be used in ministry; but it is a much greater privilege to be recipients of grace.

 

What we’re reading: “Zeal Without Burnout”: Endure! – AUDIO

Jesus said, in John 4.31–34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent to me and to finish his work.” He finished that work, John 19.30. Jesus work ended – so it seemed – in failure, but we know different – 1 Corinthians 15.58.

A prayer:

Lord, make my life of service worth something; make it sure. May it be that, at the end of time, this collection of dust, this temporary mortal frail feeble sinful Christian may have achieved something by your grace that will last to eternity.
Ministry is ministry in a messed up world. And there is Grace in the disruption, for it humbles me; it shows me afresh my total dependence upon God.