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Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries

 

Are you a Tool?  audio

Acts 9:10-30 

I have a great collection of tools in my work shed. Most of them came from my father and grandfather though some I’ve bought for myself. Of course the fact that I have them there doesn’t necessarily mean they get used; or get used well when I do use them. But the ones I do use and can use well are the ones I value the most.

But we’re not here today to talk about my hobbies. We’re here to talk about witnessing to the gospel. So what have tools got to do with that? Well, as we’ll see in a moment God’s tools are people and interestingly he chooses to use the most unlikely of people as his tools in that task of sharing the gospel. 

I mean, who could be more unlikely than Saul? He didn’t have a clue did he? We read the story last week of his mission to Damascus to round up the Christians there and how Jesus appeared to him to give him a new mission. I think we skipped over the bit about him becoming blind. But of course he was blind long before that wasn’t he? Although he was so well taught as a Pharisee he couldn’t see that Stephen was right; that Jesus was in fact the Messiah that they’d been waiting for and that opposing the Christian faith meant he was opposing Christ himself.

Final Things   Audio

John 21:1-25 

Jesus has risen. He’s appeared twice to his disciples as a group. The second time he tells Thomas that those who believe in Jesus without having seen him are blessed, and John concludes chapter 20 with the statement that the things he’s written are here so that we who read them later may believe and believing, may have life in Jesus’ name. But the story isn’t quite finished. There are still some loose ends; and there’s still the future ministry of the Church to come. And so he lets us in to a brief incident that occurs in Galilee while the disciples are awaiting Jesus return to the Father.

The disciples have returned to Galilee at Jesus command to await him. There are 7 of them this night, and they're obviously getting restless. You can sympathise with Peter can’t you? Jesus has told them to wait for him, but as we all know, waiting can be hard. Eventually Peter jumps up and says "I am going fishing." He's a man of action. He's sick of sitting around doing nothing. It can't hurt to do a bit of fishing while they're waiting. They need to eat and they can use the money. Well, the other 6 think this sounds like a great idea. "We'll go with you," they say. So they go, but they catch nothing.

Give Us This Day  audio

Matt 6:5-8 

We come today to the third petition of Jesus’ model prayer. If you’ve been here over the last 2 weeks, you’ll have seen that Jesus’ economy of words can hide a depth of meaning and that’s no less true today as we think about what it means to pray “Give us today our daily bread”.

But before we look at it in detail I need to point out that there are 2 mistakes we can make when we get to this line of the Lord’s Prayer.

a. We can think it’s all about getting what we want, or

b. We can think it’s irrelevant.

Scandalous Wisdom  Audio

1 Cor 1:20-31  

John 13:1-17

As Steve mentioned last week, Justine Toh in her research on current social needs has found that two of the greatest issues for people in Australia is a lack of cohesion in social life and an increasing tribalism. We have the illusion of community through our social networks but often no personal connection with the people we live amongst.

That’s the current world reality that we live with even as we read the words of a different time to ours, written in what was in so many ways a quite different world to ours.

In our passage today from 1 Corinthians 1 Paul is writing to a church that was very proud of its cultural and intellectual heritage. Corinth was the ancient world’s equivalent of New York. A huge trading and financial centre, set on the narrow isthmus between the Adriatic and the Aegean Seas, it was a hub of Mediterranean commerce. It was a city that was large, sophisticated, and generally well educated. This was no backwater of the Roman Empire. This was a large metropolis populated by people who’d seen it all and who were used to hearing the best of the Greek philosophers sharing their wisdom with anyone who’d listen.

A New Start  audio 

Col 3:1-17 

As the year rolled over last Monday night did you think to yourself, “That’s one year I’m happy to forget”? Or “Let’s hope next year is better than last year”? I can’t be sure that 2018 was worse than any other year but it sure felt like it. When you think back on 2018 there was no shortage of controversies, scandals, bad behaviour at every level of society. Domestic violence, murder, house invasions, gangs terrorising suburbs, 2 Royal Commissions, reporting, first, sexual abuse by priests, school teachers, scout leaders, etc. added to by accusations against parliamentarians, actors, movie producers, international aid workers, etc., then banks and other financial institutions who’d been ripping off their customers. And let’s not forget national leaders who’d committed fraud and embezzlement, or threatened their own citizens or other nations, closing borders, inciting civil war and so the list goes on.  It’s not a pretty picture of the world we live in is it?

Forgive Us Our Sins    audio

Luke 15:11-32

If you’re driving around on a Saturday morning, chances are you’ll see men jogging along the footpath keeping fit and it’ll be nothing particular to comment on. But when Jesus told a story about an older man running down the road it would have had the opposite effect. It would have shocked his audience. In his day the older you were the less likely you were to even walk fast let alone run. To run was to show a failure of dignity. But when they realised the reason he was running down the road it would have been even more shocking. Jesus story tells of a father whose son has disgraced the family, brought shame on them. Yet when the father sees this rebellious son coming down the road he runs to greet him and to welcome him back.

Jesus tells this confronting story to illustrate the nature of the forgiveness that God offers to his people. It’s that story that explains what Jesus meant when he told us to pray “Forgive us our sins”.

It’s interesting that in this postmodern world we’re a bit conflicted about the notion of forgiveness. When it’s all just a matter of personal choice, when the social mantra is “If it feels good do it!” why would we need to ask for forgiveness? If you feel hurt by someone you’re likely to be told that that’s your problem, get over it. When someone does say sorry, too often they’re expressing regret for the consequences, not for the action that was the cause of the offence or for the hurt they’ve caused.

The Key to Gaining the Kingdom  audio

Matt 5:1-15 

What does the word blessed – or bless-ed mean to you? I remember it was the closest thing to a swear word that my mother used to use: – “Those blessed ants are back in the kitchen!” More seriously though, it’s used to describe saints – “Blessed Saint Patrick”, “The Blessed Virgin Mary. If an ordinary person is described as blessed we generally mean they’re enjoying good fortune; God has been kind to them; they’ve received the rewards for their good life.

But what does Jesus mean when he describes this list of people as blessed? What did his hearers understand by it?

As we so often find in English the one word can mean various things, depending on the context. But in Hebrew and Greek there were two different words used for blessed. The first was used when you were talking about God doing something good for you. e.g. “The Lord bless you and keep you” is a prayer that God will look after you and bring you prosperity” But the other word that’s used speaks of a state of blessedness, or being at rest, at peace. It’s a bit like the idea of “Shalom”.

Contact Details

Phone: 0422187127
 
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