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Bobbi Salkeld

Unexpected

Unexpected

Christmas is packed with personal traditions. Every year we hang up the same tree decorations. Every year we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the same big holiday. Every year we try to come up with a creative gift for someone special and basically get the same gift we did the year before.

So the question is, can the story of Jesus in a manger really surprise us one more time around? Can Christmas hold more meaning than all the ornaments, intricate family meals, and presents wrapped under the tree?

Advent is a time to return to the story of Jesus’ coming. And in returning, we find that we aren’t the same person we were even a year ago. The Divine’s coming to us in human flesh is charged with the unexpected. There’s the unexpected way an old story becomes new. There’s an unexpected baby who holds the mystery of the universe. There are unexpected angels sent to declare that heaven has come to earth and nothing is the same anymore.

Home Group Discussion Notes for Advent 2018 Week One
Home Group Discussion Notes for Advent 2018 Week Two

Joseph

Joseph

Over the past few years, we have been seeing what the Bible has always known: that human stories, when viewed through the lens of faith, teach us how to live. Together we have explored the stories of Abraham and Jacob. This year we come to the story of Joseph.

The journey of Joseph’s complicated relationship with his brothers will be our focus for this fall season. This is a common and extraordinary tale: sibling rivalries, dreams of destiny, acts of betrayal, realizations of loss, sudden reversals, acts of kindness, restored peace. And in this whole mix, there is God. In fact, like any really good story,there is more going on here than at firstmeets the eye.

Joseph was a person in process, just as we continue to be. We see him grow up from a despised younger brother to a respected leader, from one presumed dead to the centre of life and action. And if we pay close enough attention, we might see what perceptive readers have always noticed: that Joseph’s story carries an uncanny resemblance to the story of Jesus himself.

Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 1
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 2
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 3
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 4
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 5
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 6
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 7
Home Group Discussion Notes for Joseph Part 8

Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles

The book of Acts can present as a collection of hyperboles. Fire from heaven, dramatic exorcisms, adventure on the high seas, earthquakes and arrests. In some ways this seems appropriate, because it’s the story of Jesus’ first followers after all. How they began to share the story of Jesus’ life and resurrection, with the Holy Spirit invariably appearing to add dramatic flair.

But, if we take time to look a little closer, we find that there are a bunch of stories here showcasing the haphazard, serendipitous, and mundane ways in which the first Christians went about trying to be faithful. The ways in which they encountered the divine. The ways in which they discovered, as N.T. Wright says, that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures was “doing a new thing in the whole world.”

Seeing this, we can affirm that while the Church’s genesis was marked by spectacular action, it was also expressed in ordinary human experience. That the Holy Spirit was at work in spectacular events and day-to-day monotony alike. And we can consider how the same might be true for us.


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Proverbs

Proverbs

When it comes to the words that inspire us, we can all think of quotes by writers, rappers, and filmmakers. Words are important, powerful, and help us construct meaning in our lives. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to read a quote that makes you think “Yes, that is how I feel!” and “Yes, that’s what I think too!”

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of ancient quotations. It belongs to the category of biblical books we call the wisdom literature. It’s found right in the middle of the Bible, but we rarely think of the words in this collection as central to the wisdom in our everyday lives. Proverbs is often overlooked, can seem pretty dusty, and when read too quickly is a blur of cliches.

Let’s take another look at Proverbs. Let’s trust that there’s something here for us in our big life questions about how to be wise in relationship with our families, our bodies, our resources, and our power. Proverbs hands us a way to find wisdom in the ordinary. It’s about the art of living and seeing the beauty of God in the grit of everyday life.

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*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.

DISCUSSION NOTES

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

When in Rome III

When in Rome III

What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions from Paul’s agenda in Romans—anagenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.

Two years ago we started into the book of Romans, working our way verse-by-verse through the letter. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward into chapters 5 to 8.

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*you can use the menu icon in the top left corner of the video to jump to any message in the series.