A Time for...

A Time For God - Week 3

Readings: Mark 1:29-39, Luke 5:12-16, 1Thessalonians 5:17-18
Sermon Date:  April 17th 2016
Notes by:  Richard Jones
Our lives seem busier than ever. Work, school, children, and countless other obligations take up a lot of precious time. A lot of people nowadays seem to keep up their relationships via Facebook or text messages. Unfortunately, the one relationship that can suffer the most for Christians from their busy life is a relationship with God. There are several easy things that followers of Christ can do to seek God, strengthen their relationship with Him, and find peace in the chaos

Read:                           Mark 1: 29-39,  Luke 5: 12-16, 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18    
We worship a God who created us to be in relationship with him. The key word there is ‘relationship’. Any relationship needs working and friendships take time to build. God our Father wants us to spend time working on our relationship with him. In fact if we take our Christian faith seriously our relationship with God should be the most important relationship in our life. However, in reality it’s probably the one that we put the least effort into.
Fellowship with God is a tremendous privilege. It's also meant to be an amazing adventure which every believer can experience. We must make time with the Lord our number one priority. There are lots of choices in life, and those choices will determine the priorities in our lives. So, we must be careful or the "busyness" and simple pleasures of life may crowd out our time with the Lord.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon, and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
(Mark 1:35-37, NIV)

People were always looking for Jesus. Many times He would take His disciples and try to get away to a lonely place; yet, the people would find Him, and they would crowd Him. Why? Because He ministered to them. He met their needs. He helped them. As a result, everyone wanted His time. But in spite of the demands on His time, Jesus made it a priority to get away and spend time with the Father.

It is my conviction and my experience that the most important meeting of the church is not on Sunday morning. The Sunday church service is a hugely important gathering,  where we have opportunity to meet together and grow as the body of Christ, but I don't believe it's the most important encounter we can have as Christians. The most essential meeting is our own personal time with the Lord.

In Luke chapter five, Jesus healed a man of leprosy and then instructed him not to tell anyone. And of course, like so many others Jesus touched, he went out and started telling people.

It says in verse 15, "Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses." (NIV) It became even more difficult for Jesus to find a lonely, solitary place. The very next verse says, "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  (Luke 5:16, NIV)

Why do you think God wants to be in relationship with us?
Think about your relationships, what do they involve? How do they impact you? What do they require from you?
Questions and Application
Read Mark 1: 29-39.
1.  What does this passage tell us about Jesus’ relationship with ordinary people and with those around him?
2. How might these relationships affect Jesus in his own personal life?
3. What does it tell us about Jesus’ relationship with his Father?
4. What does this passage have to say to us today about our own relationships and how we deal with day to day events and pressures of life?
Read Luke 5: 12- 16. ‘But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’.
1.  Discuss why this might be the case? Is there something in the text that gives us clues?
2. What coping strategies can we employ when the pressure of life takes it toll? Share/ discuss together
3. Do you find ‘withdrawing to lonely places and praying’ a help? Share any personal stories
4. How (what practical ways) can we develop this pattern in our life? Discuss/ share together
5. Is there any mileage in developing an accountability partner to help in this?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18
  1. Praying, spending time with God is the example of life that Jesus gives us. Think about our family/friend relationships. In all our relationships it’s crucial to spend time sharing, talking and building up our understanding of each other. When did you last spend time with God doing exactly that?
  1. What do you think is ‘God’s will for you in Christ’?
  1. As a housegroup how could you develop your groups prayer life? Share/Discuss how you feel about this – share any stories of answered prayer/ how can we move forward in prayer together.
Are you able to make a conscious effort to develop your personal prayer life? Are you able to follow the example of Jesus and make time for God?
As a group talk though practical ways in which you can help each other in this. Discuss daily bible notes, daily prayer patterns etc.
Conclude by praying together.

Richard Jones, 17/04/2016