Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries


Meaning In the Face of Suffering  audio

Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3

2 Cor 4:5-12

(Part of a Sermon series based on Making Sense of God by Tim Keller,  Hodder & Stoughton, Sept 2016)

The book of Ecclesiastes presents us with the basic dilemma of living: What’s it all about? King Solomon explains that he’s applied his mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. He’s lived a life of pleasure, he’s built great works of architecture; he’s studied nature to the point where he’s become a great naturalist; he’s surrounded himself with every form of luxury: gold, jewels, slaves, entertainers, concubines; - and his conclusion? “It is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14I saw all the things that are done under the sun; all is meaningless, a chasing after wind.” (Eccl 1:13-14)

 In the passage we read today he says when he looked in the places of justice and righteousness all he found was wickedness. He says he can find no difference between humans and animals. Despite our great inventiveness and intelligence, in the end we all die the same way animals do. We’re all from dust and we all return to dust. - He sounds like he needs a course of anti-depressants, doesn’t he?

But he isn’t depressed. He’s just realistic. His conclusion, one of them at least, is that what we need to do is just accept our lot and enjoy what we can of life. “22There is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?” There’s something very contemporary about that isn’t there?

Praying with Paul - How Should we Pray  audio

Col 1:9-14 

      Today we move into a short series on prayer that we were introduced to last week by our service of “Music as Prayer”. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll be looking at Paul’s prayers to various churches in order to see both a model and a foundation for our prayers. Let’s listen to this short prayer that Paul prays for the Colossians and as you’re listening see if you can pick up some principals that might help you in your prayer life and we’ll see if you find what I’ve found. [Read Col 1:9-14]

I should begin by pointing out that Paul’s prayer for the Colossians has one major difference from the other prayers that we’ll consider over the next few weeks as well as a couple of similarities.

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.

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.

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.

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