Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries


Is Wisdom Enough?    audio

Eccles 7:1-20

Wisdom is one of those things we all wish we had – especially in retrospect. It’s one of the things we try to teach our children. In fact that’s always been the case. The collection of sayings we find in Proverbs was apparently meant for training young people who might one day be leaders.

And we continue to use these sorts of saying today. I’m sure you heard them over and over again from your parents or your teachers as you were growing up: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Bad workmen blame their tools. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. All's fair in love and war. One of my favourites is "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."    
Often these proverbs involve contrasts: Better late than never. Better safe than sorry. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread; Waste not, want not; or they’re simply pragmatic: "You can't take it with you." In fact I saw one in an Age headline last week: “Better to be good than happy”.

Ordinary Honours - Ruth audio

Ruth 1-4

We come today to the last in our series on women in Jesus’ genealogy, to the story of Ruth. I hope you’ll discover as we go through this story of Ruth that it encompasses much of what I think Matthew had in mind when he included these women in his genealogy.

But first we need to think about the situation that women like Ruth and Tamar and Rahab and Bathsheba found themselves in. Women were powerless. They had no rights. They couldn’t own land. So they were totally dependent on their husband or their father for survival.

But then, in a sense that shouldn’t surprise us if we remember what God said to the woman in Gen 3, after she and the man had eaten of the forbidden fruit? You can almost imagine the sadness in his voice as he says: “16I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16) Life was going to be tough for both of them, but in the woman’s case her physical weakness compared with men would be compounded by a social disempowering that left her in subjection to male domination.

But, as we’ll see in this story, God didn’t leave it there. As the nation of Israel was being formed God gave them laws intended to ensure that women’s welfare was provided for - laws that impact significantly on Ruth and Naomi.

Prayer & Prophecy audio (6MB)
Daniel 9

 The Stimulus to Prayer

The vision of ch8 is long past, the Babylonian Empire has been overthrown and a new ruler, Darius, is over the captive Israelites. They’re still in exile but now in Persia.

Daniel has been reading the words of Jeremiah in his daily Bible study, and he comes across Jeremiah’s prophecy that Babylon will rule for just 70 years, then God will bring them back to Jerusalem. (Jer 29:10) And he thinks to himself, “That’s about now”.

But he also knows that the state of his people hasn’t improved much. Nothing seems to have changed with the change of ruler, apart from geography. In fact they’re even further from home now than they used to be. But the fact that God’s word tells him that the time is near for their return stimulates him to hope; and to pray that God would indeed do what he’s promised.

Jesus is God With Us  audio

Is 7:1-14

Joseph and Mary with Jesus in a rustic cattle shelter; an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream and later to Mary in the flesh; a sky full of angels appearing to shepherds; it all seems very remote at times doesn’t it? We have a sentimental response to the Christmas carols we’ll sing over the next few weeks. We sort of imagine what the stable must have been like, though we probably don’t imagine it as bad as it was. Unless we’ve visited the slums of India or Pakistan or Kenya, we’re probably more likely to think of it like the stable outside with nice clean hay and solid timber walls. And even if we get those bits right we still struggle with the idea of angels speaking to people. That’s well outside our sphere of experience. Though I have heard accounts every now and then of people who are quite sure they’ve been helped by angels.

And if the events of that first Christmas are remote from us, it’s nothing compared to the idea of being in God’s presence. It’s interesting to hear stories of non-Christians who are happy to come to something like a playgroup in the hall, but wouldn’t dare to come into the church. I’m not sure if that happens here but it’s certainly happened in other places. So why are they so reluctant? I think it’s because they see God as someone to be feared; someone who’s unapproachable; someone who stands in judgement of their life perhaps; someone who’s so perfect in righteousness that it’s dangerous to come near to him.

Is that the way you feel when you think about God? It’s a good question isn’t it? Is God someone to be feared or is he our friend? We’ll come back to that question at the end.

The End of All Things audio (6MB)
Daniel 8

Well, it wouldn’t just be great, it will be necessary for you to keep your bibles open, because we’re going to be looking at the whole of Daniel 8 and also delving into chapters 10-12. With so much to cover we won’t be able to answer every question you might have about these passages.  But if you like you can come up and ask after the service.  We’ll do our best to answer, or even better help you join a small group, find a commentary or go to Bible College!

We’re going to focus though, on the vision that Daniel has in chapter 8.  This vision takes place in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar.  It’s then, two years after the vision in Daniel 7, which we looked at last week.  

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Phone: 0422187127