Navigation
Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Topics in the Jesus Week and Jesus Evenings

 

Practical Areas of Life  (blue on timetable)

1.  Forgiving Others: Jesus attached a lot of importance to forgiving others, yet it is hard to define and describe.  Hear personal stories, find out ways to forgive, how to recognise unforgiveness in my heart, and how to tell whether I’ve forgiven or not.

2.  Hearing the Holy Spirit and making decisions:  The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ appointed successor and perfect representative, and it is his job to remind us and teach us everything Jesus taught, and to guide us into all the truth.  Therefore hearing him is of the utmost importance in order to make the right decisions in our lives.  But what does he sound like?  How can we be sure it’s the Holy Spirit speaking?  How sure do we need to be?

3.  Loving God 100%:  Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.  This doesn’t mean working frantically 18 hours/day to please God;  it means not putting my time and energy and resources and affections into things that aren’t God’s.  Find out what this can look like, and discover the cure for burnout at the same time.

4.  Trust and fear:  Trust (=faith=believing) is the antidote for fear, and fear is the enemy of trust, and Jesus had a lot to say about both, because our relationship with God depends on trust.  How do we build up trust in God?  How do we overcome fear?

5.  Money, possessions and giving:  This is always a hot topic!  Jesus’ teachings on possessions appear at first glance to be radical to an impractical degree.  Hear stories from people who have taken them literally, and what has happened in their lives as a result.  It’s not as hard as you might think, and the blessings are great.

6.  Judging others is what we do when we don’t forgive them, and is at the root of most interpersonal hostility and relational breakdown.  Find out the many faces of judgments—and how to get rid of them.  You’ll like your family better when you do!

7.  Relating to Enemies: Loving people when they’re nice is easy—the real challenge comes when they’re nasty!  But this is what distinguishes the children of God from the rest.  Find out about the counter-cultural skills of forgiving, showing goodwill to enemies, removing the plank from my eye first, reconciling, and winning others over.

8.  Loving My Neighbour:  Jesus talked about many types of neighbours and the particular challenges of loving them:  enemies, persecutors, the needy, and children, as well as the “nice” neighbours.  Hear and discuss ways this can work out in real life.

9.  Women:  Jesus taught regarding women as much by example as by speaking, and he liked and honored and defended women despite being in a culture which oppressed them. You will think more highly of women when you appreciate how highly Jesus thought of them.

 

Principles and Overviews  (yellow on timetable)

1.  The Importance of Jesus’ Teachings:  Jesus said that gaining eternal life (Jn 12:49-50, 8:51), freedom from sin (Jn 8:31-32), receiving the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:15-17), having the love and presence of the Father with us (Jn 14:23), and answered prayer (Jn 15:7) are all conditional upon us keeping his teachings.  Find out what happens if one takes this literally and does them.

2. Covenant Agreements:  God relates to people through covenant agreements which have requirements, blessings and penalties.  God has made very important covenant agreements with Israel (defined in Gen-Deut)—and with us (defined by Jesus’ words in Matt-John).  Find out how covenants work and what the implications are for us.

3.  Overview of Jesus’ teaching:  Jesus talked about (a) the Kingdom, and (b) what we must do to enter it.  His teaching is therefore mostly about how to live and behave, and is very practical.  He emphasised what to do (righteousness), not just what not to do (sin).  Each wrong action has a corresponding right action which needs to replace it (eg giving instead of stealing).  All his behavioural teachings fall under the two main headings of “Loving God” and “Loving your neighbour” but there are many subtopics within these.

4.  The Law:  Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher of the Law, and all his teachings were based on the Law of Moses (Gen-Deut).  There are important principles and patterns in the Law which are essential for understanding Jesus' teachings but are little known among the churches today.

5.  The History of the Bibles.  Jesus' “bible” was “the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets” (Lk 24:44), and he quoted extensively from these—but from no other books.  However, the churches’ bibles contain many other books and letters besides;  how and why were these included, and how should we view them?

6.  Jesus' Gospel:  “What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?”  This is the most important question in the world, but Jesus' answers to it are quite different from traditional evangelical views.

7.  Jesus’ Teachings and Paul’s Teachings:  The tension between Jesus’ gospel in Matthew-John and Paul’s gospel in Romans and his other letters has been a major theological issue for 1950 years.  Are they truly different gospels, or just two sides of the same coin?  If they are different, what place does each have?

8.  Man’s Freewill and Choice underlies God's relationship with humans since the Garden of Even, and permeates all of Jesus’ teachings.  God is good and wants us to do good;  the devil is bad and wants us to do bad;  and we have a choice as to who we follow.  Understanding this properly provides answers to several major issues which people often struggle with and even give up their faith because of them.

9.  The History of Israel.  We need to know Israel's history in order to understand how Israel-centred God was and still is, to understand what the "Kingdom of God" is, and to understand prophecies by Jesus and the prophets (because many prophecies have already been fulfilled, if we know the history they match to).  This is an overview of the most important covenants, themes and events in Israel's history, from 1900 BC (Abraham) to 2013 AD (now).

10.  Israel and the Kingdom of God.  After trusting/believing/faith, the Kingdom of God was the subject Jesus mentioned most frequently, occurring in over 100 verses.  The two main themes of Jesus’ ministry were (1) what the Kingdom is like and (2) what we must do to enter the Kingdom.  The Kingdom was already described by many prophets and the Jews already knew what Jesus was talking about when he first announced, "Repent, because the Kingdom of God is at hand."  This overview is taken from the psalms and the prophets and the gospels, and summarises what the completed Kingdom will look like, and what are the main events we can expect in its development.

If we don't have time to cover the Kingdom (and we didn't in April 2012), there will be a free booklet summarising Graham's findings from his careful and extensive study of what the Prophets and the Gospels have to say about the Kingdom.