Jesus was presented in the Temple when he was 8 days old. Inspired by the Holy Spirit Simeon saw that Jesus was the promised Messiah. However, Simeon also foresaw that there would be conflict ahead. For followers of Jesus there is conflict with the world and within ourselves. How does this conflict manifest itself and what can we expect when we come through the “other side” of this conflict?
This week we spend time hearing some personal stories from those who had recently attended the Soul Survivor event at the Peterborough Showground this summer. God gloriously revealed himself to those who attended in ways they couldn't imagine, which has changed the way they see Him and the way they see themselves - loved as children of the King.
Many of us were brought up to avoid confrontation, but problems are never resolved by avoiding them. In this brief passage from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus shows us how Christians are to seek to resolve disagreements – with love and with grace. The talk explores how we are called to go to the person who has offended us with the right attitude and being clear what we seek from our meeting.
This week we reflect on what God can teach us about participating in His mission. We draw attention to 3 'missional imperatives' that come from Peter’s encounter with the Gentile centurion, Cornelius. Firstly, Peter prayed. Secondly, he went. Finally, it was Peter, not just Cornelius, who was converted. He has a vision in which he is told to eat food no good Jew would go near. But he is challenged: "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." In this story Peter himself experiences a conversion from his deeply held convictions about what God is doing in the world. Are we so tied to our view of the gospel that we miss the ways in which God is trying to ‘convert’ us?
Here we feature the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Canaanite woman who comes to him asking for her daughter to be released from a demon who is tormenting her. It’s a difficult story because, at first, Jesus seems reluctant to help a non-Jew. However, through her unyielding persistence and faith, Jesus does grant her request. This as story perhaps also preempts God’s story of salvation moving towards the time when all nations will be healed as they respond to God in faith. We must also show the same persistence and humility in our own faith and in our own lives.