Finding, 24th May


It’s not easy sustaining energy levels at this point in the lockdown, is it? The beauty and brokenness of our world seem ever more vivid. The challenges in excess, demand, struggle or lack is real. Praying on for your stamina, peace, tenacity and faith in the living Lord Jesus.


Here are some further linked resources and wider detail for this weekend:

Patience as church doors wont be open for a while, Types of people in lockdown times, Do you track what you are learning: Johnny sometimes makes a list - what would be on yours? One of this life's Elijah's has gone home to a great reward: Ravi Zacharias is worth engaging with his legacy, Why Ravi's life & apologetics reach was so significant, the Big Church Day-In... is not so Out! this year, click in and enjoy if you'd like?


  • Our ongoing online resources accompanying this weekly blog piece continue: Wednesday Worship with Adam at 6pm on our church Facebook page, Sunday word & worship at 1030 on our church facebook page for all, and daily Encouragements from Ephesians at 12noon on Johnny's personal Facebook page, This Sunday we'll continue our 'hospitality at home ' after church via an 1115 Zoom group church conversation; sign-in details are in the church family email sent by Sue.

  • If you or others you know are struggling, do be in touch with Pauline Pearson our Pastoral Care Team leader. Direct any queries if you wish to pastoralcareteam@stph.org.uk

  • The CofE offer a free-phone whereby older, non-techy people can dial-up for a sermon, hymn or prayer. It’s refreshed daily. 0800 804 8044. 

  • Revised date for this years APCM is set for 18th October, with Baptism & confirmation dates to follow.

  • Here are the details for your giving: the bank details are Swanley St. Paul PCC Acc: 80859710 Sort code 20-25-42. Please email Sue at office@stph.org.uk with any questions and we will gladly assist. Although our church buildings continue to be closed, God is very much on the move in our communities and we are here to support, encourage and resource many more at this time.

  • Keep on recording your daily thankfulness... yes in every season!


Today in our scattered 1030 online offering, Sue will speak on 'finding', from Matthew 13 v 44-46 in our next Kingdom people message, Harry is bringing an all-age moment, with Julia sharing everyday faith, and we'll share in sung worship. The link to this Kingdom people series resources are here, and the spotify playlist to accompany this Kingdom series, here too!


  • Matthew 13 v 44-46

  • The Kingdom is a free gift but we have to earn it. 

  • The treasures had to be earned by sacrifice. These are not parables about buying salvation, but the incredible value of salvation that far surpasses any amount a person might be able to scrape together to try to acquire it.

  • Gaining the Kingdom requires that we  take a risk.

  • In both parables, the men were faced with unique opportunities which required action so that the opportunity wasn’t lost. Making this decision and taking the risk would change their lives. 

  • Matthew 10: 39

  • Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

  • The kingdom is equally available to all people.

  • Whether one is a Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female makes no difference Galatians 3:28 for all who are thirsty need only come to the living waters to have it quenched Isaiah 55:1. Entrance into God’s kingdom is based on grace and faith alone!

  • The value you place on the kingdom is reflected by how much you are prepared to give for it. The Kingdom of God costs you everything because, when you find it, you have to change your whole lifestyle.  The Kingdom of God costs you nothing because Jesus paid the price to give it to you.

  • The Kingdom is a free gift, but it will cost us everything.

  • Are we willing to pay the price?


Questions for personal reflection & life group sessions

Finding: Matthew 13 v 44-46

The parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl merchant

Here are two similar short parables, which are worth looking at together; these are parables that Jesus tells only to His disciples and again He does not offer an interpretation or explanation. Treasure was often hidden in a field because there were no formal banks as we know them today and it was therefore not uncommon for valuables to be hidden when marauding armies approached. If the landowner did not survive the invasion the treasure would be forgotten and unclaimed. The land could therefore change hands numerous times before the treasure was discovered.

1. Read the passage in at least two different versions of the bible – what immediately strikes you from them?

2. So, what is the kingdom of heaven like in this passage; how is it relevant today?

3. The hidden treasure lies unnoticed and was therefore found by accident – what are the divine accidents that have happened to us?

4. The pearl on the other hand is deliberately sought after by the merchant – what are we consciously seeking after? Reflect on your experience of becoming a Christian – did you happen on the gospel or were you deliberately seeking God?

5. Compare vs 44 & 46 with Matthew 19 vs. 16-22; which are you & I, the rich young ruler, the merchant or the man?

6. What does ‘all he had’ v44 and ‘sold everything he had’ vs 46 look like for us? What have we given up for Jesus? What are we willing to give up for Jesus?

7. Look again at Phil 3 v 8. What do we understand afresh about that verse in light of todays reading?

8. In vs 44 the man ‘sold everything with joy’. What is our heart attitude to sacrifice? Look at Matt 5 v 3-10 – which groups of people gain the kingdom of heaven?

9. How can we help others to discover the treasure of the kingdom? Is it everyone’s job to do this or only those with a special calling?

10. What is the point of this parable and how can we apply it this week?

POINT TO PONDER: “Greatness in the kingdom of God is measured in terms of obedience.John Stott

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St Peter's Church, College Road, Hextable, BR8 7RH

 

At St Peter’s Hextable and St Paul’s Swanley Village we take safeguarding very seriously and the PCC have adopted the House of Bishops Parish Safeguarding Handbook, Promoting a safer church, which can be viewed here Further safeguarding documents can be found on the Rochester Diocese safeguarding website Safeguarding children, young people and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect is the responsibility of us all whether they are in the communities in which        we live or part of our Christian family.

 

If you have a concern regarding a child, young person or adult who may be at risk of harm please speak to our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Andy Birmingham 07511 255 565 or email him on safeguarding@stph.org.uk 

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