Bible Tour

Jonah 4 Did It Have to be Them?

Sun, 21/12/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Picture the scene.

It’s Christmas afternoon, and the family is sat in your front room. Someone was given a particularly nice box of chocolates, and they’re being passed around. You have your eye on the coffee creams. There are two in the box. To your dismay, you watch two other people each take one before the box can get to you. Dashed hopes. … And a piece of Turkish delight.

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Hosea 11:1-9 Father God, I Wonder

Sun, 14/12/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Most of us have too small a view of God’s fatherly love.

There are a number of reasons for that.

Some of us have had bad experiences of fathers; our memories are not all happy ones. So we take our own experience, and imagine that God is like fathers we knew. He domineers. He’s a tyrant. He looks out for himself but not for us. Or whatever it is.

Others of us had really good fathers. They loved us; we knew it; we respected and loved them. So we assume that God as father is like them. Like them, but no better than them.

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Ezekiel 30:1-19 The Biggest God

Sun, 23/11/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

It’s not hard to find institutions that seem all powerful. Nobody can stop them. They’re all over the world. The Mafia. Islamic State in Northern Iraq. The regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. In some parts of the world, the United States, even our own nation, can feel that way. Even in our own country, maybe the government, maybe your employer, seem unstoppable. They can do what they want.

This is nothing new. In Bible times, there were regimes that felt just like that. Institutions, nations, leaders, so powerful, nobody tells them what to do.

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Ezekiel 18:1-29 Sour Grapes

Sun, 16/11/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

It’s hard to imagine your life being on any path, other than the one you’re on.

If your life is going well, you tend to think it will always be like this. If you know God loves you, he’ll always do so.

Or perhaps life’s going badly. You’ve made some big mistakes; maybe you feel you’re paying for them. God will always judge you. He’s written you off.

It’s inevitable. Inevitable God will bless you. Inevitable God will push you away.

It’s easy to feel like that.

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Jeremiah 18:1-12 The Potter

Sun, 19/10/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Who determines Olivia’s destiny? The kind of girl / lady she’ll end up? The course her life will take?

John and Emma would love to think it’s them, I’m sure. Parents, godparents, friends – all have an influence, but they don’t determine anything. Sorry.

There are two people who do decide the outcome of Olivia’s life.

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Jeremiah 3:6-18 Go on, Admit It!

Sun, 12/10/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Most people today, if they believe in God at all, think that they are alright with God. He approves of them. They’re in his good books.

That extends to most of us as well.

The trouble is, if you think that way about God, you stand to miss out on an awful lot. If you don’t have a right view of yourself, you lose in the long run.

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Isaiah 35 Highway to Heaven

Sun, 28/09/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Are you ever tempted to give up? Give up your job? Give up as a Christian? Give up living?

Isaiah chapter 35 was written for people who were tempted to give up.

It’s a little tricky – it was written for them, rather than to them. Isaiah ministered from around 740 BC to 680 BC – roughly the 8th Century before Christ. But lots of what he wrote was written for the people who would live some time later – in the 6th Century.

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Isaiah 17 The World: Is Anyone Driving This Thing?

Sun, 21/09/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Who’s got their hand on the tiller of history?

That’s our question for this morning.

Sometimes you look out at the world. You see conflict in the Ukraine, decades of peace seemingly being unpicked. You see violent people taking a hold of parts of Iraq and Syria. You see Christians on the receiving end of the worst atrocities. You see some in Scotland wanting to be independent, and the actual vote going the other way, and at least one half of that makes you scratch your head.

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Ecclesiastes 12 While You are Young

Sun, 14/09/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

How do you make the most of your life? That’s the subject of our passage today. But let’s start with a bit of background.

The book of Ecclesiastes describes one man’s search for meaning in life. Most of the book was written by someone called “The Teacher”. Some kind of wise man with a public ministry in ancient Israel.

How did he get on with his quest for meaning? Pretty well. Look at verses 9 and 10 in our chapter: He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

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Job 38:1-27 Out of the Whirlwind

Sun, 31/08/2014 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Sadly, we live in a world where there is much pain, much sadness, much suffering.

This is not academic. Many of us live with hardship on a day-to-day basis. And if it’s not us, it’s friend we know, love and care for.

What does God have to say about this? We’re tempted to put God in the dock sometimes. To ask him what he’s playing at.

The Bible contains the story of a man who wanted to do just that. His name was Job. He lived about the time of Abraham. He was a righteous man. Not perfect. Not sinless. But very good and upright.

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