The Story We Find Ourselves In - Jon Fryer

(This sermon owes an awful lot to Epic by John Eldredge - check out the book!) 

This is my favourite clip from Lord of the Rings. The main character of Lord of the Rings isn’t Frodo or Gandalf or Aragorn. The main character of LOTR is actually Sam. It’s his story. It’s about how a little person saved the world when no one else was watching. It’s about how Sam became a man. It’s about growing up and doing what you have to do and finding your place in the world and knowing where you fit into the story.

When Sam wonders ‘I wonder what kind of tale we’ve fallen into?’ he could not have asked a better question. He assumes that there is a story, a purpose, something larger than him going on around him, and he assumes that he is somehow caught up in it. ‘What kind of story have I fallen into?’ is a question that would help us all if only we asked it of ourselves more often. In fact, it might be the most important, life changing question you ever ask.

Stories matter.

All of life is a story. Life unfolds, one thing after another after another. First this, and then that happened. Stories are how we make sense of the world – you only have to listen to the girls talking – ‘then he said, then she said, then I said, then he said…’. Stories are how we talk to other people and share our lives. Nothing makes sense without the story.

We are fixated by stories. When friends get together, they tell stories about what happened last night, about their friends, about the past. Millions read the papers and watch the news every morning, because we have this craving to know what is going on – we need to know the story. We feel lost if we don’t know what is going on around us. We don’t just need facts, we need the stories. Even more people tune in to the soaps every night for their latest fix of badly written drama and romance – we escape into stories when the world is too much to cope with. But stories are more than just entertainment – our souls crave stories in the way the body craves food. We go to stories in the hope that they will make sense of our own story. We learn all of our most important lessons through stories, and stories deepen and reinforce all of our most important lessons. Stories tell us who we are, why we are here, and what we need to do. They give us our best answers to all of life’s big questions, and most of the small ones too. That’s why, if you want to really know someone, you need to know their story.

All of us wonder at some point or another ‘Who am I? Why am I here? Where will I find real life? What does God want of me?’ The answers to these questions only come when we know the rest of the story. And that’s where we hit a problem. For most of us, life feels like we’ve walked into a movie 45 minutes late. It all seems so random. Good stuff happens, and then bad stuff happens. There seems to be no point to it. There seems to be no reason. Science tells us that the world begins with an accident, and will probably end with an accident. As Shakespeare summed it up ‘Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’. I want to tell you tonight that that is a lie. There is a story. There is a plot, a reason, an answer and an author. Your life is not a mistake or an accident. Your story matters. Your story is part of the great epic.

Start with the movies or books that you love. I’ll bet they all have the same ingredients to some extent or another – love, danger, excitement, heroism, romance, sacrifice, injustice, unlikely heroes, wicked villains, insurmountable odds, and with any luck, a happily ever after at the end. And that’s true of everything from the Matrix through to Pride and Prejudice. The stories you love tell you something very important about your heart – they were put there as a treasure map to show you the way through your life. And you might note that all of the great stories are actually the same story – things were once good, then something awful happened, and now a great battle must be fought, or a great journey taken. And then, at the last possible moment, a hero comes to set things right, and life is found again. This is the story of every fairy tale, every myth, every romance, every western, every epic, one way or another. Have you ever wondered why?

Every story, great or small, is the same, because it borrows from the One Great Story that is woven into our very being. All stories borrow from THE story. There is a story we can’t get away from. There is a story written into your very DNA. Christianity tells us that story. Oh, not the holier than thou crap full of rules that you normally get from the church – that is not what Christianity is about, and don’t let anyone tell you anything to the contrary. They are wrong. Christianity is about a story. THE Story. Something hidden in the ancient past. Some dangerous thing now unfolding. Something waiting in the future for us to discover. Some crucial role for us to play. True Christianity tells us that there is an Author, and that he is good, and beautiful, and true. It warns that the truth is always in danger of being twisted and corrupted and stolen because there is a villain in the story who hates us and wants to destroy us. It calls up a story deeper and truer than any other, because all other stories are just echoes of it, and it assures us that there is a meaning to our lives. What if? What if every story that has ever touched you and made you glad or sad or exhilarated or restless – what if they were all telling you something true? What if they were telling you something about the true story into which you have been born? You won’t understand your life until you understand the Story in which you find yourself.

A story without love is not worth tellingSo where does the story begin? Once upon a time. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Hear and attend and listen for this befell and behappened and became and was, Oh my best beloved. All good stories start this way. They make us long for the ancient things, because our story starts there. Once upon a time. In the Beginning. But Genesis 1 is not the start of the story, but rather the middle. The real start of the story is with the other time the Bible says ‘In the Beginning’. In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. How do you picture God? If He is One Alone, then you’re so wrong, and you don’t understand the Story. God is One in Three, Three in One, perfect community, perfect relationship, love going around and around and around forever and ever and ever without beginning or end. The whole story began with something relational. And that’s important, and it tells us lots of important things. Firstly, science wants to lie to us and say its all an impersonal accident. But how can something like human personality come from some impersonal force? How can something as dazzlingly complex as the universe come from an accident? How can something as wacky as the platypus and bumble bees and giraffes and blowfish come from cold science – they reflect the personality of an artists heart, not cold mathematics. Every character in the story, every human being, has a sense of humour, a love of story, an insatiable curiosity to know more, and a longing to make sense of things – how can that come from cold chance? No, only personality gives rise to personality. There is an Author to the story. And the Author cares. The reason most people don’t like God or the idea of God is because they see him as all brain, the way science tells us that God should be, and they don’t trust His heart. The Bible tells us the story begins with a love story between God and God going around and around in a dance for eternity. The heart of all things is all about heart, about feeling, about passion, about relationship. The God at the beginning of the story is not just a personality, but a community. And whatever else the story may tell us, that’s where we start. We are about relationship. Secondly, the Story doesn’t depend on us. There was something there before us. Something good. We get to be included in something grand – we don’t have to make it up ourselves. It doesn’t all depend on us to make sense of things and give meaning to the world, and thank God for that, because believing that you are the centre of the universe is absolutely exhausting. Thirdly, and most importantly, this true story tells us something else. It tells us that love lasts, and we so desperately need to hear that in our world of broken homes, casual relationships, and cheap sex. It’s a fact that small children would rather know that Mummy and Daddy love each other than know that Mummy and Daddy loves them – which is why divorce is so devastating. It ends the story. Broken relationships say that the story is not safe, and that nothing will ever be stable again, but the One True Story tells us that true love lasts forever. God’s eternal unbroken relationship within the Trinity tells us that love is something immortal, eternal. The universe is not a lonely place – it was born out of love. Fellowship, relationship, love is coded into the very heart of all things – that’s why the selfish life does not work. The story just does not make sense when it is all about you… ‘cos its not! Love was there first, once upon a time.

Moving on into the story, why does every story have a villain? There isn’t a single good story without one, from the big bad wolf, to Darth Vader, to the Wicked Witch of the West, to whatever bitchy girl is the latest villain in Hollyoaks. Every story has a villain because yours does. Though most of you do not live like it. Most people act as if the story has no villain, and that means the story makes no sense. How do we miss it? All the stories that we tell, all of the villains that make us scared, or angry – these are told as warnings. There is evil in wait around us. War. Famine. Betrayal. Murder. Genocide. Concentration camps. Rape. Surely we know there is evil in the world? How can we miss it… but where did it come from? What does it want? How do we escape?

Things have happened in the story before we come to our present lives. Frodo was not the start of the story in LOTR – no, many other things had first occurred – a ring had been forged, fought over, lost, found, murdered over, lost again, and found in the dark before being passed on as an inheritance. There is ancient history much older than we are. Something happened before us. The Story is not as safe as we would like to believe. There was war in heaven.

God had created servants, mighty angels to serve in his throneroom, but He gave them free will, because God always seeks relationship rather than robots. And the most beautiful of these beings was Lucifer, the Son of the Morning. And Lucifer looked up at the throne of God and thought “I’m as good as God, how is He any better than me? I’m the most beautiful. It should be mine”. And he persuaded other angels to join in his plot until in the end, there was war. And ultimately Michael, the great captain of the heavenly armies, cast the Devil out of heaven, down to the earth with his followers, where the Devil licked his wounds and continued to scheme against God and God’s friends…

…and that means you. He hates you. You were made to be friends with God, and Satan, having lost that friendship, despises you with a never ending jealousy. You have an enemy. And he wants nothing more than to destroy you in any way possible. The devil is not a joke with horns and red tights. Your enemy is Evil with a capital E, and if anything can be made to go wrong it will. Some people say ‘Why does God hate me?’ when things go wrong, but they couldn’t be more mistaken. God loves you with a passion so intense it is frightening. It is the enemy who hates you. The Bible calls him the ‘thief of always’, and that is because he steals away the always, and the forever, and the happily ever after that is your birthright and your inheritance and your legacy in any way he can. Evil has entered the Story.

And the Story moves on. God creates. He creates light, and stars, and the world, and seas, and birds, and fish, and bugs, and platypuses and everything else in a rapture of artistic expression, and it is very good. In fact, it’s perfect. And God wants to share both it and Himself with others, so he creates man. Man can’t hack it with just him and God, so God creates woman as well. And the pair of them live in Paradise, the most glorious garden you can imagine, we’re talking the opening of the Lion King times a million, so beautiful it will make you laugh and cry all at the same time. The world is not normal or scientific.  The world is fantastic. Come on. Elephants? Butterflys? Snow? When did you trade in the wonder for a text book? Fight to get it back now. This is a world made for Romance. God made it to put mankind in the mood for loving Him.

God gave men and women a heart. He made us capable of loving and feeling, and of choosing. He gave us free will. He gave us the freedom to love Him, or the freedom to reject him. Good God, why? He knows what free will can do – he has just suffered a massive betrayal by giving the same gift and dignity to Lucifer. He knows what misery results from free will, and does it anyway. Why? Because without choice there is no love, no relationship. Love is chosen – you can not force someone to love you. And God always seeks relationship, because God is love.

And that is the answer to the big question – what kind of loving God would create a world where evil is possible? Doesn’t He care about our happiness? Isn’t He good after all? Yes He does, and yes He is. He cares so much about our happiness that he allows the possibility that He himself might be hurt by giving us the choice to love or not to love, which is the greatest happiness of all. God is not a puppeteer. “Trust me with this one thing” said God “I have given you the entire Earth to enjoy and explore; take care of it for me. And I have given you one another, for love and friendship and romance. You shall be my intimate friends. But on one matter you must trust me. Trust me that my heart is good and that I make this rule for a reason. Do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil… or you will die”.

And that is where the Story takes a tragic turn. There is snake lurking in the garden. Satan has been plotting his revenge. He wants to hurt God, and God is invulnerable, but by making friends, He has made himself vulnerable. You know the story. He comes to Eve and says ‘You can’t trust the heart of God, He’s holding out on you, you’ve got to take control for yourself and get what you deserve…’ It’s the same like he tells each and every one of us – you can’t trust God. He doesn’t really care. Things will be better for you if you take charge of your own life and set your own rules. Rewrite the Story. Big up your part. Arrange your own happiness.’ God gave us the entire extravagant creation, and we had to reach for the one tiny thing that was out of bounds. We betrayed the friendship. We try to cover up that part of our lives, but we have to own that story – we betrayed our friend. Commodus and Maximus. Edmund and his brothers and sisters in Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.  Cypher and Neo. Boromir and the fellowship. We wince at these parts of the stories, because they are us.

As an aside, here is a thought you may never have come across. Why did Satan go for Eve? Why not Adam? It’s not because Eve is weak. In traditional military tactics you do not attack the enemys weak point. If you charge the weak point in the line you smash through it, and then the strong points to either side turn on your army and cut it to pieces. No. You attack the strong points, defeat them, and then mop up the rest at your leisure. Eve is attacked by the Devil because she is the strong one. Adam was lonely on his own. God created Eve to support Adam in his weakness and to be his strength. As soon as Eve falls for the Devil’s lies, Adam follows. Satan attacks the woman because she is the strong point of all of creation, the glory and beauty of God. Jesus loved hanging out with women, because they were always strong for him. They were always there for him when the men were bickering. At the cross, with the exception of John, all of the men ran away, but the women stayed with him. It was the women who risked the Romans to go back to the tomb on Easter morning. It was the women who believed in the Resurrection while the men doubted. So this is a challenge to the girls – why are you hanging back? You can be as strong or stronger than the guys in faith, in holiness, and in the word. Why aren’t any of you up here preaching? Why do I have such a hard time talking the girls into leading anything up front? You aren’t living up to your potential – don’t limit yourselves just because the guys might be afraid of you, or because you think you have to wait for a guy to arrange something for you, or because you think its not attractive to be smart or powerful – the most attractive people in the world are those people who are simply themselves. You need to push onwards. As a church, we need you to be everything you have the potential to be, or we all lose out. We are missing out on 50% of God’s gifts to our congregation when the girls aren’t leading us. We need you to be praying, and teaching, and leading, and exercising all of the spiritual gifts that are just as much your birthright and legacy as they are the guys. The Devil is afraid of you – that’s why he took Eve out first. You bring different weapons to spiritual warfare than the guys do, and he is afraid of them – the passion and care that girls bring to their relationships make for powerful prayers. The Devil is afraid of you – so give him good reason to be. You don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission to be the person God made you to be – just go for it. 

Anyway, that was a bit of a detour, but we return to the Story where we left it. Something went wrong in the Garden, and everything was broken. We failed on the most essential test of all – we didn’t (and still don’t) love and trust God or each other enough. Something has gone wrong. We know that much. Whatever else we know, we know that. Something is wrong with the world. The ship has hit the iceberg. Corsucant has fallen to the Empire. Winter has enslaved Narnia. Rome is burning.

This is where most stories begin – paradise is lost. The kingdom has been overthrown. Evil is gathering on the borders, or has taken hold in the heart of the land. It is a dark time for the rebellion. The future is in doubt, and all is nearly lost.

Predictably EvilBut wait. Every great story has a rescue. Jack will come to Rose. William Wallace will free Scotland. Luke Skywalker will rescue the princess. Nemo’s father will find him. Aslan is on the move in Narnia. Why does every great story have a rescue? Because yours does. Its easy to miss. Evil gives the illusion of predictability. Evil gives the illusion that everything will always be like this, that nothing will ever change, that things can’t get better, that happy endings are just for kids. It’s a lie. It is just an illusion. Your story has a rescuer.

When we fell for Satan’s lies, we sold ourselves to him. God will not allow that situation to continue. Though we betrayed him, He still loves us and rescue is the story of the Bible – Noah, Abraham, Israel – again, and again, God saves people so that he can put back that relationship we had with Him in the beginning. Moses. The Exodus story, where God brings all of his people out of Egypt is the classic rescue story. Through supernatural power, hail, and frogs, and blood, God kicks in the doors of Egypt and sets the slaves free. And in worship, the people sang ‘the Lord is a Warrior’. God is a warrior. He has come to rescue us. Just one day later the people are complaining that they have no food. Rescuing the human heart is the hardest job in the business, ‘cos we don’t know if we want to be rescued. Satan has us so tied up in the lies about how the money is good, and the sex is good, and the selfishness is good that we just can’t see how captive we actually are. We don’t know how desperate we are. We long for things to be fixed, but we just can’t trust that God’s way is best.

But God has a plan. God himself, the King of all creation takes on human flesh, and enters the story. The Author lays down the pen, and becomes a character. He sneaks into the enemy camp in the dark of night to whisper a message to us: ‘I love you. I’ve come to rescue you’. As we said from the beginning, this isn’t just a war story, it’s a love story. God will not give up on us. He doesn’t want religion. He doesn’t want good people. He wants his friends. He wants his beloved. But there is a cost. He will have to die to rescue you. Have you noticed how often the hero has to die to save his beloved? William Wallace is tortured to death to free his beloved Scotland. Neo is shot in order to free the people enslaved by the Matrix. Aslan dies upon the Stone Table in Edmunds place. Maximus fights to to the death in the arena to free his beloved Rome from tyranny. Jack sacrifices himself to the sea to save Rose. They are all echoes of the One True Story – The Son of God came to give his life as a ransom for you and for many. Remember, God warned that the price of mistrust back in the Garden would be death. The only way out is a ransom.

The Christmas story is often told like a twee fairy story, and this hides the fact that the coming of the Messiah was more like the Normandy beaches in Saving Private Ryan. Hundreds of people died to make it possible. A dangerous mission, a great invasion, a daring raid into enemy territory, to save the world, but also to save one man. Jesus told a story of a shepherd leaving his flock behind to look for just one missing sheep. You are the sheep. You are Private Ryan. Jesus was betrayed by his friend, and tortured to death. But there is a bigger Story unfolding. He gave his life up willingly as a ransom to the evil one, so that you might be let free, to pay for your betrayal, but also to prove, once and for all beyond any shadow of a doubt that the heart of God is good. To prove for all time that he loves you, and that you matter to Him more than words could ever tell.

A Hero and Lover lays down his life to rescue his beloved. That is the secret to the success of the movie Titanic. It is a love story. Jack pursues Rose. He rescues her from the life that is killing her. In the same way God pursues us, calling us through the small stories – Do you trust me? Will you let me save you?

And then Jack gives his life for Rose. He dies so that she might live. He saves her in every way that a person can be saved.

The life and death and resurrection of Jesus answer once and for all the question ‘Does God love me?’. At the point of your deepest betrayal, when you had run away from home and gotten so lost you could never find your way back through the forest, God came and died to rescue you. And then he fought his way back out of death to be with you again. You have never been loved like this. He comes to save you in every way that a person can be saved. God loves you.

And they all lived happily ever after. Those are probably the most loved, most beautiful, most haunting words in the English language. If a story has been true to life in all of its sorrow and hardship, if it has echoed with our story, and if it then turns at the ending of the story to hope beyond hope, if it turns to happy ever after, then we get a brief glimpse of joy beyond the walls of this world more poignant than any grief. What if it can be all right again? What if everything that has been done can be fixed? What if we don’t lose anyone and get to be with them forever? What if there is a happy ever after?

We long for the promise of a happy ever after, because every small story has an ending. Even yours. Old age, or violence or illness will find you eventually, and take your friends from you. Your work will be left unfinished. Your time will come to an end. Is that the end of the story? If that is the end, then it is a tragedy – a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If that is the end then life will break your heart. Do we have a future?

The great theft of the Devil is to steal the always and forever by loosing death on the world. The great theft of the Devil is to steal our happy ever afters with the lie of science that says ‘your story ends with an accident and then there is nothing. This is as good as it gets.’ No wonder people eat too much, drink too much, take drugs, try to hide in casual sex – a story with such an end is too much to bear thinking about. Unfortunately the Devil tells an even worse lie – Heaven will be a never ending church service in the sky. It sounds like hell to me. Seriously, we were given the world of Eden, full of beauty and wonder and adventure and romance, and yet we will be sent to church ‘cos that’s somehow better? There is no hope in that picture. I mean what, we can dream better dreams than God can dream? We can write stories with better ending than God can? That can’t be true.

Here is the really good news – the story does not end with a church service in the sky. That’s not the so called Good News of Jesus – its not even close. The good news is this – Behold, I make all things new again. Whatever was broken, Jesus fixes. We get this world, put right again, forever. We get these bodies, made perfect forever. God whispers this secret to us throughout time. Every spring, the trees regain their beauty and strength. Every year the plants grow again, even though they seemed dead. This is the ending of the True Stories – everything gets fixed. That’s the surprise ending of Titanic, where Jack and Rose walk again through the restored ship of dreams. Dorothy returns home to Kansas. Maximus walks through the wheat fields to his family. Sam becomes mayor of the Shire and lives out his days in peace.  The world in all its beauty shal be ours again forever.

And its that word, ours that makes it all perfect. All of the relationships are restored again too. You and me. Me and God. It’s a party. When Frodo and Sam awake at the end of the tale, it is to the sound of the laughter of their friends. This is our story. When Jesus dies, he laid three days in the tomb, and then he rose from the dead. He was restored to his friends and hung out with them again – the most stunning, unbelievable happy ending you could imagine. Its our ending too. The fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first in a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again, promises 1 Corinthians. We too will and never die. Creation will be restored, and we will be restored. And we will share it together – what the Bible calls the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the Party to end all Parties. You can share a pint of Guiness with St Patrick, eat apples with Adam and Eve, argue with St Paul, dance with your great great great great grandmother, and chat with your great great great grandson. Imagine the stories. All the questions will have answers, not one word answers, but story after story after story, wonder and laughter on that day when death is finally dead. And then real life begins.

And now? Now we’re still somewhere in the middle of the story. We have a future, but the tale is not over yet. We are in the midst of the battle. Helms Deep. The Beaches of Normandy. Hoth. Paradise is lost and has not yet been regained. We live in a more dangerous story than we thought we did. We love Star Wars, the Matrix, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, because they tell us something about life that you just don’t get on the news. Or even in most sermons. They tell the story we were created for.

This is the sort of tale we have fallen into. A valiant hero lover and his beloved. An Evil One and a great battle to fight. A journey and a quest more thrilling than you can imagine. A small Fellowship to see you through. This is the gospel. This is Christianity.

Now what is your part? So what must we do? We need to bear in mind that things are not what they seem. We need to remember that we are at war. We need to realise that we have a role to play and a choice to make. To find our lives we must turn to Jesus. We need to ask him to restore us to his friendship. We need him to forgive our betrayal and make us all that we were meant to be. We need him to lift the veil from our eyes so that we can see the truth. And when that is done, Jesus needs us to be his allies. We don’t need to be the Messiah – Jesus is the One and we must never forget that, but the Returning King needs our aid in the battle. We have reached the point where the hour is late, and much time has been wasted. Aslan is on move. The last great battle for this Middle Earth has begun. There are great things to be done and sacrifices to be made, and only Jesus can tell you what they are, but you need to know that there are tasks that only you can do and that have been prepared for you before the foundation of the world by the guiding hand of the Author. This is our most desperate hour. You are needed.

What is comes down to is a choice.

And that’s your choice too. You can chose to ignore the story, ignore Jesus, go home, and forget everything you’ve heard, and believe whatever you like. Or you can accept the truth of the story, and commit yourself to living out your part in the great epic. It may be that you’ve not thought about it before, and this is the first time you’ve ever heard the real story. Or you may have heard the story a thousand times and been following Jesus for a while. It doesn’t matter. Everyone in this room is faced with the same choice as Neo, right now. Do you want to go back to a comfortable boring illusion, or do you want to experience real life to the full.

As a symbol, I’d like to invite everyone here to make that choice – if you really want to live your part in the story, and want to commit yourself to that choice then take the red pill. If you don’t that’s perfectly fine – take the blue pill. Its your choice. But make it seriously.

************************************* 

This is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight.

This is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too.

This is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos,

In a struggle where it is often hard to be sure  who belongs to which side

Because appearances are endlessly deceptive.

Yet for all its confusion and wildness, this is a world where the battle ultimately goes to the good, who live happily ever after,

And where in the long run everybody, good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name.

This is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales,

Which is that it is true, that it happened not only once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since, and is happening still.

This is the Gospel.

This is the Story we are living in.

May you play your part well.

In Jesus name.

Amen.

Jesus the Man
What was Jesus like?

The Character of God
How do we know what God is like?

The Authority of Scripture
How should we obey what the Bible teaches us?

The Wise Mans Tragedy
What can we learn from Solomon?

Obedience
What can we learn from the mother of Jesus?

Cain and Abel
What can we learn from the first murderer?

Aslan
Who is Aslan? Who is Jesus?

When the Fire Burns Low
How do we cope when we have grown tired of God's way?

Fix Your Eyes
How do we look for God?

Stewardship
Why should we look after the world God has given us?

Stability
How do we know who we are in God?

Lent - Pride, Doubt and Jealousy
What is the period of Lent all about?

Doorkeepers
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked...

Close Encounters
How do get to have intimacy with God?

Air
Can we feel the breath of God?

Hearing From God
How can I hear what God wants to say to me?

The Story We Find Ourselves In
The Bible tells the story of all creation - what is my part in that story?

Passover
What does Passover mean to us as Christians?

Life
What does it mean to say that Jesus is alive?

Fruit
What is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Wait
Teaching for Christmas Eve...

Authority
What does it mean to have authority?

Tired
What can we do when it all seems like too much?

I Will Be With You
What does it mean to say "God is with us"?

Angels
What are angels, and what can we learn from what the Bible says about them?

Fire
A contemplative service for Pentecost

Water
A creative/contemplative baptism service

Guidance
How do we know what we should do?

Stones
A creative prayer/worship service

The Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does (s)he do?

A Relationship With Jesus
What does it mean to have a 'relationship' with the Son of God?

The Pilgrim's Progress
If we keep our eyes on the prize, what a journey it could be!

Heroes, Promises and Trust
How does our relationship with Jesus realy work?

Warrior's Confession
A liturgy for masculine prayer

Living Life to the Full
How do we get the most out of life?

Abraham
What is so speacial about the faith of Abraham?

The Presence of God
What does it mean to say God is present?

How Do I Know My Faith is Real?
We all wrestle with doubt, so how can we cope?

Who is Jesus?
...and what does he want from you?

To Act Justly Every Day...
What does the Lord your God require of you?

Sex and Self Image
Don't you know how beautiful you are?

Obedience
Will you let Jesus be in charge?

Recognising Jesus
Would you know him if he met you on the road?

The Person of the Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does (s)he do?

The Passion of the King
What does Jesus really want?

Joy
How can we really 'count it all joy'?

More Than Words
"... but words can never hurt me"?

The Armour of God
What tools does God give us to protect us from the Enemy?

The Heart of the Gospel
The Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near to you, therefore...

Following Jesus
Do you really want to follow him?

Preaching Skills
How should I prepare to give a sermon?

Healing
The gift of healing comes from the Holy Spirit, but how does it work?

Church
The People of God

The Bible
What does it mean when we say that the Bible is the Word of God?

Jesus Part 2: The Deity of Christ
How can Jesus be God and Man at the same time?

Jesus Part 1: Who Do You Say I Am?
Who is Jesus, and why does He matter?

Temptation
How do we resist?

Holiness
What is holiness and how do we try to achieve it?

The Art of Spiritual Warfare
We're in a constant battle, so how do we try and prepare to fight?

Forgiveness Part Two: Forgiving Others
What is forgiveness and why do we need to forgive others?

Forgiveness Part One: Forgiven by God
Why does it seem so often that God is a million miles away?

Prayer Part Two: Receiving From God
Why does it seem so often that God is a million miles away?

Prayer Part One: The Lords Prayer
We look in detail at the Lords Prayer

Prophecy
It's one of the spiritual gifts, but what exactly is it, how does it happen?

Becoming a Christian
What is a Christian, how do you become one?

Basics of Christianity
Here we delve into the Nicene Creed