30 September 2015

Immeasurably More

Drawing Closer, Digging Deeper

& Going Wider

October 4th, 11th and 18th 2015

Over the course of these three weeks we will be looking together at the theme of Spring Harvest 2015 (Immeasurably More) which sets out to explore Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3 v14-21:

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

WEEK 1 - DRAWING CLOSER   Ephesians 3 v14-17a

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Context: Acts 19 tells the story of Paul in Ephesus and pretty dramatic it is too, including stories of the coming of the Holy Spirit, tongues, prophecy, bold speaking, miracles, evil spirits, confession, repentance, riots and persecution!  Eventually, Paul leaves for Macedonia!

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians comes sandwiched in the middle of his letter between the theology and the teaching about the practical outworking of the gospel in the lives of the Ephesians.

Themes: The trinity, intimacy (kneeling before the Father), adoption to sonship, Christ taking up residency with us by dwelling in our hearts, the incarnation (Emmanuel – God with Us), drawing near to God and receiving from Him.

***

WEEK 2 – DIGGING DEEPER   Ephesians 3 v17b-19

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Themes:  Rooted, established, empowered and filled.

The love of Christ:

Wide enough to embrace you whoever you are

Long enough to endure with you whatever you are going through

High enough to encourage you whenever you feel low

Deep enough to encompass you however far you have fallen

Hydrated or dehydrated?  Are you a grape or a raisin?  And the church?

Do you divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually

You are a work in progress – it takes time to become deeply rooted.

 

***

WEEK 3 – GOING WIDER   Ephesians 3 v 20-21

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Themes:  God is real, active and present (not distant).  He is omnipotent, all things being possible for Him, our almighty God.  He is attentive and unbounded – nothing can contain Him.  He is sovereign, transforming us and transforming whole situations.

Abandoning ourselves completely and wholeheartedly to God.

What does it mean to be naturally supernatural?  Expect miracles!

What if?’        ‘Just imagine!’       What dreams do you have both for yourself and for your church?

Where have we already journeyed as a church?  Turn the clock back to ‘What if we started breakfast church’ and ‘What if we ran an alpha course’ and ‘What if we engaged with community through car washing & fun days’ and ‘What if we ran a SHAPE course’ and What if we prayed & prophesied’ and ‘What if somebody dreamed up a youth project and called it The Wave?’  ‘What if?’  ‘Just imagine!’

What will Andrew have for us from God when he returns from his time away?  Are we indifferent about that or are we excited about that?  Are we thankful that we have a ‘What if’ leader, a ‘Just Imagine’ leader?

 

 

 

For reflection

If your answer to the final questions on the previous page is one of indifference then ask yourself what it is that you really desire.  Read Psalm 28 and see how desperate the psalmist is for God in the initial verses.  He calls, he pleads, he cries out, he lifts up his hands.  And then look at God’s wonderful response in verses 6 to 9.  God is closer than you think, but are we desperate enough to want Him to invade our personal space?

 

Recommended reading:

‘IMMEASURABLY MORE’ by Cris Rogers.

‘God wants to take us further than we could ever imagine’ (Brian Heasley) ‘I commend it wholeheartedly to anyone who is thirsty for more from God.’  (Pete Greig)

This is the Spring Harvest theme guide and it is available on Amazon either in paperback or for kindle.

 

IMMEASURABLY DEEPER’ edited by Abby Guinness.

A 40 day devotional for a deeper life in the spirit with contributions from several Spring Harvest speakers.

Available as above and the two can be bought together.

 

‘GOD IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK’ by John Ortberg.

Not some abstract theological concept, but the real deal – intimate connection with a deeply personal God.  How can you enjoy a vibrant, moment-by-moment relationship with your heavenly Father?

There is a copy in the Quiet Room and Tim has a couple of copies for sale (£5 each) or to lend.  Also available on Amazon, but make sure you don’t buy the DVD by mistake!

 

‘THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD’ by Brother Lawrence.  Definitely worth a look if you’ve never read it.

 

 

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