Sunday 9th August, 2015

Welcome to everyone joining us today as we gather for Op-Shop Sunday. I look forward to seeing what the team help us explore today! If you are visiting you are very welcome and we'd love you to join us for coffee when you arrive or even stay for a bite to eat afterwards.

A quick reminder to our regular attenders: If you plan to stay for lunch on any given Sunday, please don’t forget to bring some food to share each time so that there is enough to go round!

Next week will be our Celebration Sunday, and like you, I am looking forward to singing some worship songs and having a full sermon - like the good old days! But I think it's helpful to remember that as far as we know, Jesus never listened to a sermon in his life! Nor did He ever deliver an expositional sermon based on the scriptures. What we do know He did was engage in dialogue/debate over the scriptures in the synagogues He attended.

When we read of the early church "devoting themselves to the Apostles teaching", it was just this model that they were using. They were retelling the stories of Jesus' life and ministry and discussing what it meant for their lives. This is much closer to what we are currently experiencing (even though we are still learning how to do that well) on our Missional Community-led Sundays.

When we have the bible reading and ask questions of each other in mutual discovery, we actually engage our brains in a far more effective way that helps us remember what we've been talking about. That's not to say that we can't remember anything we hear in a regular sermon (!), but adult educational experts have been saying for years that we actually remember more when we actively participate in the learning.

So my encouragement to all of us is to get involved, Sunday by Sunday, in the questions and answers. If you don’t like speaking out loud, bring a notebook and write things down, or maybe follow up after the service, over lunch with one or two people in a smaller setting. The exciting things about our current predicament with musicians, is that we have been given an opportunity to explore (arguably) a better way of learning from the scriptures. Enter into the process and then test yourself at the end of each week to see if you can remember the main point of the previous service. I bet you'll find you can!

God bless,    Ian.