In this inspirational message guest preacher Mark Dunagan from Origen in the USA encourages us to devote ourselves to the Word of God & prayer. He uses both Scripture & personal testimonies from his own life to inspire us to this end. 1. He challenges to devote ourselves to God's Word by meditating on it. 2. He challenges us to pray effectively & fervently with faith. On both points he gives examples of what this looks like in practice order to help teach us how to grow in being devoted to God's Word & prayer.
Reading: Deuteronomy 17:18-20; James 5:16-18
This message focuses on an account about one of the Bible's lessor known characters, a man called Obadiah. Not the minor prophet named Obadiah but another Obadiah who appears in the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18. In this message we're challenged to consider that maybe like Obadiah in the story, our 'second choice' situation may actually be God's first choice. This is a great encouragement, for even though like Obadiah we may find ourselves in a situation we would not choose we can be assured God is still working out his purposes in our life & in his world.
Reading: 1 Kings 18:1-16
The Man Who Wrestled With God (6): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 30:25-43
The story of Jacob seems to move from one struggle to another. Here the struggle between his wives gives way to a struggle with his father-in-law. Here we find Jacob reasoning with Laban & then Laban cheating on Jacob before Jacob outwits him with a plan blessed by God. Jacob had shown great patience & many years of servitude but there comes a time when enough is enough. There are some characters you just can’t reason with & therefore you have to find a way to outwit them without losing your integrity. This is partly what Jesus meant when he told his disciples to be wise as serpents & as innocent as doves. The same Jesus who came as the hero of the Divine plan which outwitted the ultimate Laban, securing our escape from his control so we can return home to God our Father.
The idea of Temple, which helps symbolise God's presence with his people, is one of the themes which builds throughout the story of Scripture & therefore helps us understand God's great redemptive story. In this inspiring message we're taken on a journey from Genesis to Revelation (Eden > Tabernacle > Temple > Jesus > ___________ > New Jerusalem & earth) & then shown where we are as the Church in God's story today. Helping us to see our mission to carry God's immediate presence where we are everyday.
The Man Who Wrestled With God (5): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 29:31-30:24
This part of the story zooms in on the personal struggles & rivalry between Leah & Rachel, the two sisters who now find themselves married to Jacob. Both Leah & Rachel had their own personal wrestles & they each had something the other desperately wanted. It was because of their personal wrestles that they had this unpleasant rivalry with each other. Yet in the midst of their personal struggles & relational disharmony it becomes clear God has stepped into the ring with them & is working out his purpose of redemption both in them & the bigger story. Revealing God to be a God who is still functioning in the midst of dysfunction! This should give us faith & hope for our lives, relationships & the church!
The Man Who Wrestled With God (4): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 29:1-30
Since his encounter with God at Bethel there seems to be marked progress in Jacob. In this next part of the story we see him showing great patience & working honestly out of costly love for his future wife Rachel. In fact everything seems to be going very well until out of the blue Laban serves him a taste of the medicine he dealt his brother. This is not some kind of divine payback however, but rather the opportunity to be led forward in a divine process of transformation. In the same way getting ‘a taste our own medicine’ can be good for our soul when like Jacob we have the promise of God’s presence. For when we truly know God is with us & for us even the hardest trails have a way of softening our hearts. This is the grace of severe mercy.
The Man Who Wrestled With God (3): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 28:10-22
Jacob is in a place of loneliness, isolated from his family, away from home for the first time, way outside his comfort zone, in a place of danger & uncertainty with a stone for a pillow. Yet in the middle of all this he had a significant & life changing spiritual experience. Jacob wasn't looking for a personal encounter with God, he was running from the consequences of his own actions. Yet before he gets too far the grace of God catches up with him. Jacob had two very unusual experiences of God, the location of this first one he named "Bethel".
In this message on the Apostle Paul's powerful words in 1 Corinthians 15 we’re focused on the Christian’s hope of resurrection. We're encouraged that because of this very hope we can be assured nothing we do for the Lord is useless. It is this very hope that fuels & strengthens the Christian to remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [our] labour is not in vain.”
Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:44-58
The Man Who Wrestled With God (2): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 26:34-28:9
The story of Jacob receiving the blessing instead of Esau was a battle for a father’s blessing. The blessing was everything in the story, the lengths the characters were prepared to go to & the desperation shown by Esau when he realised Jacob got there first. Thankfully as brothers & sisters in Christ we do not have to battle for our heavenly Father's blessing. Among other things this message aims to show us why.
The Man Who Wrestled With God (1): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 25:19-34
If there is a word that sums up the story of Jacob perhaps it is the word struggle. Jacob struggled with his brother Esau, he also had to struggle to marry the woman he loved & he struggled with God when he wrestled with him. Here we learn this struggle began in his mother’s womb, God revealed to Rebekah; “two nations are in your womb”. In the New Testament, God also reveals to us there is struggle between two kingdoms. One thing is clear in both struggles; ultimately it is always God’s unstoppable purpose that progresses. This should give us great confidence in prayer & faith no matter what struggles we face.
Authentic Christianity (17): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 5:13-21
If “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” were the only words in this closing section of John’s letter it would be a depressing ending. However these words are found in a section underlining why believers can have certainty in the midst of a world under the sway of the evil one. Certainty in an uncertain world! We can know we have eternal life, we can know confidence in prayer, we can know victory over sin & Divine protection from the evil one, we can know we belong to God & we can know truth in Christ so that we can know the true God. This is the note the Apostle John signs his first letter off on.
This message was recorded at one of our Celtic Fire evenings. Celtic Fire is an opportunity to invite different speakers ministering in Ireland so we can connect with other churches & ministries & hear what God is doing across the Irish Church . This time we had Jeremy & Lesley Burke who are planting a brand new church in Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Here Jeremy shares a bit about the reality of church planting in Ireland as well as encouraging us to be patient in the work God has called us to.
In this message we are encouraged to be faithful in sowing the seed of God's word while trusting God to bring the harvest. The parable of the sower teaches us that not all seed will fall on good ground. However it also teaches us that being faithful in sowing the seed is always worth it because there is good soil to be found.
Reading: Matthew 13:1-9
The Christians to whom the letter of Hebrews was written had started out well in the Christian life. However as the newness began to wear off & problems & trials came, they began to lose confidence in their faith. They were likely tempted to look back to their old ways... to focus on the suffering they were facing etc. Yet instead the writer encourages them to look to Jesus. This message helps show us how doing so keeps our faith alive even in the most testing times of our lives.
Reading: Hebrews 12:1-3
This message by Mark Horgan on the Armour of God was not recorded but you can read the notes by clicking on the file below.
Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
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