‘The parable of the barren fig tree’ (Luke 13:6-9, Peter Phillips)

The parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9 belongs to Jesus’ words at the end of Luke 12 and his response to the people who told him of the death of certain Galileans killed by Pilate’s soldiers, and continues theme of our urgent need to make our peace with God. The people of his time could interpret the signs of changing weather, but not ‘the present time’ in which showed He was their Messiah and King. Despite this, and using the news of the day, Jesus persisted in calling people everywhere and immediately to repentance.

‘Relying on the real hero of Acts’ (Acts 1:1-11, Ryan Smith)

We currently live in a super-hero obsessed culture and it can often affect the way we think about sharing the message of Jesus. We can fall into the trap of thinking the apostles are like ‘super-Christians’ and sharing Jesus is for other ‘super-Christians’, [pastors, trained-evangelists, extroverts, people gifted in talking and sharing]. We often think “I’m ordinary, I’m unimpressive, I’m unequipped, I can’t do it, Jesus can’t be expecting anything from me”. But according to Acts 1:1-11, Jesus is the real hero of the book of Acts. We don’t need to be super or a hero, but just need to be used by Him.

‘Abram: Righteous steps’ (Genesis 14:1-24)

After making a vital decision concerning what Abram would seek in life, his peaceful existence must have been shattered by the capture of his nephew Lot by warring Kings of neighbouring nations.  Genesis 14:1-24 tells the story of how Abram risked all to rescue Lot from these victorious and powerful kings, but also how Abram soon was met by both the King of Salem and the King of Sodom. His response to both of these Kings indicate that Abram was growing in stature as a man of faith.

‘Abram: Upward steps’ (Genesis 13:1-18)

Abram’s close shave in Egypt appeared to have made some impression upon him. Genesis 13:1-18 tells us that on his return to Canaan, Abram’s heart was set toward the Lord his God. The chapter even contrasts Abram’s new found perspective on life with that of his nephew, Lot. When given a choice as to which part of the valley he would choose, Lot chose the best portion for himself. Abram, however, had his sights fixed on the Lord and a heavenly reward that would far outweigh anything material.

‘Abram: Wavering steps’ (Genesis 12:10-20)

After God called Abram to go to the land He promised to show him, Abram went on his way. He trusted what he was told and obeyed… until the events of Genesis 12:10-20 unfolded. Like us, Abram’s trust in God had to grow. The fact that he stumbled in these verses does not negate the overall pattern of growth. Like Abram, we all need to walk by faith and not by sight as we follow along behind the Lord who leads us.

‘Abram: First steps’ (Genesis 12:1-9)

The story of God’s call to Abram in Genesis 12:-9, is a pivotal passage in the unfolding of Abram’s life and the whole story of the Bible. The fact that God called Abram and gave him many promises all based on grace is foundational to our faith. Yet also in these verses we meet Abram the willing obedient follower who ‘went out not knowing where he was to go’. His obedience to God’s call sets a pattern for believers today to follow.

‘Abram: Background steps’ (Genesis 11:27-32)

One of the most important characters in the Bible also played a major part in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation. His name was Abraham, first introduced to us in Genesis 11:27-32 as Abram. His family background plays an important part in his story as does the fact that his wife Sarai, was barren…and who was it that Abram worshipped before God called him? All these matters underline the amazing grace of God that saves those who by rights, do not belong.

‘Saved to serve the King’ (Luke 19, Rev Peter Phillips)

Jesus tells a parable in Luke 19 and perhaps we didn’t notice the context. He tells the story to highlight his mission to “seek and save the lost”. It connects with Zacchaeus’ conversion, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and how the people didn’t understand his mission or have him as king. We read of a present saviour and a coming judge. Will we serve him as king?