Track Group | 21.4
Hi Everyone and welcome to our sixth Track Group Online!
We’ve just started to look at the I AM statements that Jesus made. There were seven and last week we looked at Jesus saying that he is the resurrection and the life.
This week we are going to think about what Jesus meant by:
“I am the way and the truth and the life.”
When I think about “the way” it makes me think about all the ways that we know the way to where we are going.
For me this means driving or walking. We can use maps and road signs to get to where we are going.
Have a look at these road signs and, for a bit of fun, comment bellow with some funny alternate meanings for the road signs!
Make sure to say which one you’re changing the meaning of…
So what does it mean for Jesus to say that He is the way, the truth and the life?
First thing’s first let’s get that verse in the context that Jesus said it in…
John 14:1-14 (NIV)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
When Jesus says that He is the way he is talking to the disciples about the way to life. True life. Eternal life in God’s Kingdom. The disiples are like “can’t you just give us the map?!” But Jesus in effect tells them that He is the map. He is the signpost. He is the direction to follow. The satnav voice.
How do you get to this life? Follow Jesus.
Who is Jesus? Well, this conversation adds even more clarity to that.
After Jesus has told the disciples that He is the way he also tells them that, as they know Him (Jesus) they also know the Father (God.) It’s a trinity thing.
Jesus is God. When we hear stories about Jesus we aren’t just hearing about a pretty awesome guy from the Near East… We are hearing and seeing how God would act and respond.
Wow! So when we hear stories of miracles… we know that’s God’s heart being expressed.
Can you think of any miracles you remember in the Bible?
What do they tell you about God’s heart?
There is an awesome song that we use in the Kids work at Christ Church; it’s called All Through History. I’ll pop it in as one of the worship songs at the end of the session. Basically the song is all about how we can look back at God’s faithfulness through the whole Biblical story to remind ourselves that God is faithful forever. Even now. In the middle of all this stuff God is faithful and we know that because we know Jesus.
If you have’t already seen it, The Junction on Sunday was all about the road to Emmaus and how the two disciples were changed after their encounter with the risen Jesus.
It’s through personal encounter with Jesus through the Holy Spirit that we experience what God is like. We can do that by reading and studying God’s word in the Bible, through worship, prayer and practicing self-giving love.
People dressed great in 2004!
Spend some time reading and reflecting on this little poem:
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
Dear God we thank you that we can know you. Through your word and through your Holy Spirit.
Help us to use this time at home to pray more, to read your word and to reflect on your faithfulness.
We pray for all those who are going through tough times as this virus is effecting us all in a variety of different ways.
Help us to show the love of Jesus in our homes and online.
Track Group | 14.4
Hi Everyone and welcome to our fith Track Group Online!
We’re going to start something a little new… We’re going to look at the I AM statements that Jesus made. There were seven!… Can you think of any off the top of your head?
Well, today we are going to think about one that has a lot of connections with this time of year. We’re going to look at Jesus saying:
“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.”
For a lot of people right now mortality is thought about more than ever. Maybe even for you right now. I know I have been far more conscious of my elderly relatives or those around me with health concerns…
So what does it mean for Jesus to say that He is the resurrection and the life?
There are two contexts for this phrase…
1.When Jesus said it (John 11) and…
Before we jump into those two different passages, let’s think about Heaven.
Our ideas of heaven come from so many different places… cartoons… songs…
Check out these three songs bellow and think about what is the singer saying about heaven.
What did you think of those songs?
What did you think about thier “heaven” imagery?
What do you think Heaven and eternal life might be like?
What will happen there? Who will be there?
Christians believe that when their bodies die, they will get new bodies and live forever with God. The Bible says that heaven will be a place where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). Jesus’ phrase: “I am the resurrection and the life” is clearly pointing to something in the future; but the context of when He said it points to a reality in the present too.
Let’s look at both of these contexts now…
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles b from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
What do you think Martha was asking when she said this in verse 22?
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Was she asking Jesus to bring Lazarus back to life?
According to Jesus, what must we do to have eternal life?
By raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus was able to use a terrible situation to bring some foreshadowing of what is to come. Jesus showed His power over death. For us to get access to this life, this resurrection, we can’t earn it or work for it… we only get it by faith in Jesus.
But what do we have faith in? Well that’s the second context.
The second context is all about the Easter story.
Which I am sure you know fairly well by now…
But here is a quick vdeo summary of the Easrter story at the end of the Gospel of Luke from The Bible Project.
When Jesus said the he IS the resurrection and the life He didn’t just mean he can bring people back to life…
He meant that HE IS the fulfilment of all the OT prophesies that point to God sending a rescuer to save His people by suffering death. He is the life. He is the resurrection. They aren’t just things that happen to Jesus.
When Jesus is resurrected on Easter Sunday he comes back as part of this new creation. When we say that Jesus is LORD (King) we become part of this resurrection people.
It’s all about:
HOPE / GRACE / LOVE / LIFE
All of this is BIG STUFF.
Check out this little video on The Kingdom of God.
This is what it’s all about. The Easter story is the moment Heaven and Earth are being reunited in Jesus and points to the future of New Creation when Jesus returns.
It’s still big stuff.
Check out this Bible Project video on how this all takes shape.
(Also, if you are nerdy like me… this was one of their first videos and look at how much they have developed over the years!)
Use some time to pray about how we can participate in God’s Kingdom breaking through here on Earth.
Where can you bring peace?
Where can you bring hope?
Where can you show love?
Close your time of prayer by saying the words of the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive
those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Track Group | 7.4
Hi Everyone and welcome to our fourth Track Group Online.
Over the last term we have been looking at wellbeing essons that we can learn from the life of Elijah. We’ve thought so much about God’s love for us, that He cares for all things in our lives… we also thought about friendships and rest! Quite the list of topics!
This week we are going to round that off by reflecting on some of those things and looking at something that Jesus said to his followers.
Have you seen the Incredibles series?
In the second one there is a brilliant clip of Bob (the Dad/Mr Incredible) getting more and more tired… more and more cross…
Take a look!…
- Why was Bob Parr angry in the first place?
- What has happened that may make Bob’s mood worse in the first place?
- Have you ever experienced that situation where you get upset about something small because you’re bothered about something bigger that is happening in your life?
- How can you prevent that?
Treasures In Heaven
I consider myself to be quite calm… but sometimes some small thing gets to me and my reaction (like Mr Incredible) is way more exagerated or extreme than needed.
I think it’s even harder when we are all couped up.
Let’s take a look at something that Jesus said…
Matthew 6:19-28 (NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
What would make you happier?
It’s a funny question. I wonder if you answered with something that is internal or exteral? Fame, stuff… that’s external. Added to you.
There was a study done once that tested the happiness ratings of those who had lost all thier limbs in accidents and injuries and those who had just won the lottery. By the fact that I am writing this I think you can guess who rated thier happiness higher… It was those who had lost all their limbs.
In studies there were three things that consistently contributed to higher happiness scores…
Volunteering 2 hours per week
Writing down 3 things you’re grateful for each day
Connection to a community
There are so many different things to pull out of the passage above. Here are just a few thoughts:
- Storing up – When we call external things our “treasures” we let ourselves in for a bad time. Earthly things won’t ultimatly satisfy. We have to be mindful of our default to store up stuff. Reflect on the value of things and practice holding our things lightly.
- Healthy eyes – The way we see and perceive things matters. Practicting reflecting on the things you are grateful for can help to train our “eye” on seeing things differently.
What was your favourite verse from that passage?
Or is there one thing you are going to do differently?
Track Group | 31.3
Hi Everyone and welcome to our third online Track Group!
This week we are going to continue to look at the life of Elijah and gaining wisdom on wellbeing. Last time we looked at silence and listening to God. We reflected on how God spoke to Elijah in the still, soft, voice.
We are going to look a bit further along in Elijah’s story in this session. We are going to read about the end of Elijah’s time on Earth and his handing over to Elisha.
But first, isn’t it funny how your closest friends can sometimes know you better than yourself?
Something I really enjoy doing is personality questionnaires. Why don’t you gove this one a go then reflect on the questions underneath…
- Were you surprised with your results?
- What did you think of your strengths and weaknesses?
- When you think about your close friendships do you work together personality wise?
We’ve been thinking about friendships a lot this term, especially at the Junction in our series on boundaries. Check out this funny little video from The Big Bang Theory…
- Do you have to share everything with everyone or is it ok to have zones of privacy?
- Have you ever shared a secret with a friend who didn’t keep it between the two of you?
- Have you ever done that to someone else?
God created us to be in relationship with each other. This fact doesn’t mean we have to be best friends with everyone and it is natural to be closer to some people rather than others. That doesn’t mean we can be mean to those we don’t form close bonds with though. And of course if a friend shares something with you that makes you think they might be in trouble or danger, it is okay to tell a trusted adult so that they can get the help or support they might need.
Today we are going to look at a specific type of friendship… a friend that is a mentor. A friend that guides you.
Elijah had this kind of relationship with Elisha. Have a read of their story here and have a think about the positive traits in their relationship…
2 Kings 2 (NIV)
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.
Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Elijah was very much a role model for Elisha and established him as a leader in his own right.
Right now our friendships are so important. With all this social distancing going on it has restricted the ways in can contact those we are close to.
Do you have mentors in your own life?
If so, how are you going to keep some contact with them over the next few weeks or months?
If not, what would having a mentor look like for you?
Friends are so important when we are going through stuff…
Check out this brilliant little verse from Proverbs:
A friend loves at all times, and a brother (or Sister) is born
for a time of adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
For this week why don’t you pray for your friends…
You could pray for those finding it hard being in isolation.
You could also pray for that you havn’t spoken to in a while.
For me, it helps to pray with something on in the background… Why not use one of these worship songs here:
Track Group | 24.3
Hi Everyone and welcome to our second Track Group online!
This week we are going to continue to look at the life of Elijah and gaining wisdom on wellbeing. Last time we looked at rest and how important it is to find rest in amongst the chaos in the world.
Elijah’s story is in the book of 1 Kings. We’ve been looking at 1 Kings 19:1-9 for the last couple of weeks. Why don’t you refresh your memory on that bit?
So Elijah is sleeping in a cave on mount Horeb and he hears God speak to him:
“Elijah, what are you doing here?”
Elijah responds (probably not in the best way) by telling God that he is on the run because he is afraid he’ll be killed. You’d think God would be cross with him… or dissapointed (so much worse!) but God responds by allowing Elijah to experience God’s own presence. Have a read of what happens…
1 Kings 19:11-18 (The Message)
Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”
Video Resource | Kings
Video Resource | Silent Prayer
Elijah was used to God working in big, dramatic ways. Just remember the whole Mount Carmel thing! God knew what Elijah needed when he was depressed and discouraged; hiding in a cave. He needed to experience God’s presence.
But God first showed Elijah that He wasn’t to be found in the wind, the earthquake or the fire…
God was in the still small whisper.
It’s something that we need to remember. So often we think God only works in BIG ways. Elijah needed to know this about God too.
When Elijah did hear from God in the still small voice, God gave him a task to do. He gave him direction.
Right now so many of us have had our diaries cleared (or, if not cleared, definitely re-shaped) and our routines changed. When we have a task and a focus it takes us away from looking into ourselves. Elijah’s new task took him away from getting down about his own situation and brought him round to getting on with what God wanted him to do.
At the moment I believe that God is calling the church to seek His presence in the storm, to listen for His call and to love those around us. That will look different for each of us: it might mean giving your friend who gets lonely a call, or offering to get some extra bits from the shop for a neighbour…
Have a think about some of these things:
- How could you make time in your week to listen to God?
- Have you ever tried silent prayer?
- What’s God calling you to do right now?
Make some time to pray about some of these. You pray with some worship on in the background or (if you have a printer) colour in these sheets from Energize.