It’s common to find people who view God as a kind of last resort ….. “when all else fails, try God”. Since the beginning of time people have tried to manipulate God and harness His power, especially in those times when He’s our only hope. The Israelites were in big trouble in their battle against the Philistines and they tried to “use” God in this way but it failed miserably. I wonder how many of us have been guilty of doing the same thing?
n a world of feminism and sensitive-new-age-guys there is a lot of confusion about the role of fathers today. There is a general feeling that domineering fathers are bad, but what constitutes a good father? And where can we get information to help a generation of Dads who want to do better? Contrary to much modern thinking, God sees fathers as having the major responsibility for raising their children (with their wives giving solid support, of course!). Today Pastor Murray takes us to God’s parenting manual, aka the Bible, and encourages Dads with some truths that will clarify their role in the family and spur them on.
By the end of 1 Samuel 2, Israel (and especially it’s leadership) is in a state of spiritual disarray. How will God turn this around? The answer is found in chapter 3. God speaks his word and we see the beginning of a spiritual restoration in the nation of Israel. Listen as we explore this story and consider it’s implications for our lives as the people of God today. Let us say to our God whose word is powerful, “Speak LORD, for your servant is listening” (3:9)
We love the gospel reality that we have been set free from the Law… that Christianity is not a hard slog up an impossible mountain of rules and regulations but a glorious rest in the work of Jesus on the cross. But I wonder how often we think about what our freedom is for. We hear NT teaching and our pastors calling us to spiritual disciplines like prayer, bible reading, evangelism and the like and it sounds suspiciously like the law we are supposed to be free from. Tonight Pastor Joe from Rosalie Baptist examines how we can use truly embrace our freedom and how spiritual disciplines are not laws that must be followed but one of the greatest expressions of our freedom.
It is a fact of life today that people are cynical about leaders. We know that we need good leaders, but we don’t want to trust them (too much!). This is specially obvious in the world of politics, but is also evident in the church. In today’s message we see how badly the spiritual leaders of Israel failed their people around 1050 BC. The nation was crying out for some godly leadership, but sadly they got opposite. For many it seemed that God had given up on them. But though He had rejected Eli and his family as priests, God was preparing a future leader in Samuel, and an even greater leader in Jesus Christ. Our human leaders will let us down, but Jesus will never fail us. You can always trust Him.
Daniel knew that God is the only source of true wisdom. He found himself with the opportunity to declare God’s wisdom to a pagan king who needed to hear it. Our world is equally desperate to hear the wisdom of God – even when it won’t admit it! The question is, will we keep it to ourselves or be like Daniel and declare it to those who need to hear it?
For many people belief in God is an abstract, intellectual idea. They are happy to tick a box on a census form and identify themselves as ‘Christian’, but there is no genuine relationship. There is ‘heart experience’ and no life change. In today’s message we meet a woman whose experience of God in her life was deep and real, and it overflowed into the way she viewed every detail of life. It is wrong for us to domesticate God and expect Him conform to our limited human worldview. But when we come to appreciate how great and wonderful he really is, then our relationship with Him will be fresh and living, and Hannah’s joy will be ours, too.
Does God care about the present state of the world with all its evil? Does He care about the drought affecting 70% of Queensland? Does He care about the battles we may be facing right now? For 200 years Israel had been in decline – politically, militarily, socially, morally and spiritually – and it seemed that God had abandoned the nation. They desperately needed a godly leader. Enter …. an insignificant man called Elkanah and his childless wife, Hannah. Through the heartfelt prayer of this humble woman, God showed that He did care, by giving them a son, Samuel. He would restore hope to the nation and point the way to Jesus Christ.