In the Gospel books we find Jesus referring to His followers in a number of ways; as friends, as brothers and sisters, but most frequently as ‘disciples.’

A disciple was more than a follower or an admirer, he or she was someone who devoted themselves entirely to their master; learning, copying and sticking with them through thick and thin.

Read more: Being a Disciple

I have quite clear memories of Sundays when I was growing up. I wasn’t brought up in a committed Christian family, so church rarely had much to do with it.  It was a day for family and for visiting grandparents; it was a day sometimes for playing and watching sport. It certainly wasn’t a day for shopping, ‘cos I don’t remember any shops being open on a Sunday other than the newsagents for a few hours in the morning.

Read more: 24x7 Living?...

 

I wonder if anyone reading this (practising Christian or not) has never found themselves asking some of the big questions in life?

Why is there so much suffering?

Why do I have the sense that the world isn’t quite all it should be?

Is there more to life then 9 to 5? Is there more to life than I can see?

If God does exist, what is He like?

Are Science and religion really in conflict with each other?

Can I really know God?

…..and many other questions.

Asking questions is a good thing,

Exploring all that life and the universe has to offer, even things which are of themselves a mystery, is a very healthy thing to do.

Where can we go to ask such questions? Where can we discuss some of those things which perplex us? Is there a forum anywhere for this?

Well, we believe there should be; and both the Team of churches and St. David’s are exploring how we can help people as they journey through life with these ‘big asks’.

To start off, the Team will be running a Course this autumn which explores issues like these and how the Christian faith can help us on our journey.

More details will be released in September, but our aim is run a course which is accessible to everyone, whether part of the church or not.

It will be a safe place, a place without fear of being judged by others, a place to be honest and to seek some answers together (of course some questions are too big for a nice neat answer  and we need to be prepared for that too!)

This course will also form the basis of our confirmation course. Bishop Tony will be coming to the Valley on 9th December to confirm anyone, of any age, who wishes to take that step.

Unfortunately, confirmation for some has come to mean little more than ‘what I need to do before I receive communion.’

This is not what is at the heart of Confirmation (though can certainly be one of the outcomes).

To be confirmed is to confirm the promises which we made or which were made for us at our baptism. It is to say a ‘yes’ to Jesus: ‘I want to follow you, I want to learn more about you and I want to take my place among the active life of the church.’

It does not mean we have all the answers, we may have very few.

But it does mean we think that in Jesus we’ve the best chance of finding answers (in this life or the next). It does mean we’re making a commitment to follow Him and trusting that he’ll walk with us and never leave us.

Do you want an opportunity to explore some of life’s big questions?

Would you like to find out a bit more about Jesus?

Are you considering whether the time is right for you to explore confirmation?

If so, watch out for news of the upcoming course and have a chat with me, especially if confirmation is something you may be interested in.

In the meantime, have a great summer and may the sun shine on us all!

With love in Christ, Nick 

Nick spoke about the idea of grace this morning. He pointed out that there are stories about grace - undeserved love - throughout the whole of the Bible, and that Jesus' death on the cross was the ultimate outpouring of God's grace to us. he finished by saying that the more time we comit to God, the more of His grace will rub off on us.

Nick mentioned the book 'What's so Amazing About Grace' by Phillip Yancey. Homegroup studied this a few years ago as there is a 'small group' version of the book. Here are some links to youtube to help you get a feel for this book if you are interested (find more videos by looking at the featured channels part of our youtube channel.

http://youtu.be/g0TjSZUiJEo

http://youtu.be/685mdRG_8jI

http://youtu.be/YEZUF1eMofo

http://youtu.be/sl_SSzgAzR4

There are books relating to this topic in the recommended reading section of the Church Shop. Why not post a comment below to share what you understand by grace right now?.... it's amazing how this work has such very different meanings to different people.

May we know and show His grace as a Christian community.

On Thursday the 5th of July, a number from St David's attended the Team AGM with the other churches in the Upper Holme Valley Team Ministry. After the usual thanks, annual reports etc. there was an opportunity to work in groups to discuss some follow up thoughts after the recent Church Conference. All churches fed back briefly. 

Read more: Team AGM