1. Habits of Grace: Gazing at Jesus

This term through our sermons we’re seeking to refresh and grow our individual relationships with Jesus.  We need Jesus’ help to grow in him – and the Bible shows us many godly habits, or disciplines, through which we can grow in the grace of Christ.  That’s why our sermon series is called “Habits of Grace”, from a book by David Mathis with the same name.  He puts it this way:

“The Christian life is built on three seemingly unremarkable practices: reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. But these “habits of grace” are the God–designed channels through which his glorious grace flows – making them life–giving practices for all Christians.

Whether it’s hearing God’s voice (the Word), having his ear (prayer), or participating in his body (fellowship), these spiritual rhythms of the Christian life have the power to awaken our souls to God’s glory and stir our hearts for lifelong service in his name.

They grant us access to a host of spiritual blessings that we can only begin to imagine this side of eternity – and to the incredible joy that such blessings bring to God’s children today.”

Resources: The Book

We’re recommending this ‘Habits of Grace’ book at St Andrew’s to accompany our sermons this term. It’s really encouraging in helping us to relate to Jesus.  
We’ve bought in lots of reduced price copies to the church office. Please buy from us so they don’t sit gathering dust! If you can’t buy one in person, please buy on our website (below) and we’ll post or deliver it to you.

For those who can’t afford £6 for whatever reason, a free download version is available here. If you’d simply prefer an electronic copy but can also donate to the cost, please also donate here to the publisher.

Resources: Bible Study PDF

We’ve created some short, 5-minute devotional Bible studies for you to do at home in the coming week, to help you form this habit of grace of gazing at Jesus. Download below…

Resources: Helpful Blog Post

Are “Habits of Grace” good discipline, or deadly legalism?
Some of us might think that making a habit to gaze at and spend time with Jesus is more of a law than an expression of grace.  And Jesus came to save us from law.  This blog states an answer to that concern, written by John Piper in 2009.  In summary, he says: “It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food”!

2. Bible: Hearing God's Words

Resources to Help You Read the Bible

Lots of our church family recommend using Bible Reading Notes. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, the Explore notes are really helpful. They contain a Bible passage and questions for each day. You can also download a free app with some sample notes to get you started. This PDF has 3 sample studies. Why not try them this week?

For Families

Matt recommends these Devotional Dippers: short, easy and interactive fun!

Helpful Blog Post

How do I become passionate about Bible reading?  Click here to find out!

3. Prayer: Speaking to God

Please help me pray!

If you’re not someone who knows how to start talking to God, or whose prayer life has slowed down, why not take to heart these tips from the lips of Jesus:

  1. Don’t pray to be seen to pray, pray to God (Matt 6:5)
  2. Don’t start a prayer habit in public, start in private (Matt 6:6)
  3. Don’t super-spiritualise, just talk (Luke 11:2)
  4. Don’t babble to get God’s attention, he’s already listening (Matt 6:7)
  5. Don’t withhold any request, because your Father knows how to give good gifts (Luke 11:13)
  6. Don’t give up praying until Jesus comes again (Luke 18:1)
And if you want some help on what to pray, why not look at some prayers from the Bible in this week’s devotions?

Helpful Blog Post

Want some tips on keeping your prayers fresh and relevant?  Here are some suggestions from Christian author Trevin Wax.

4. Church: Gathering as Christ's People

How do I make the most of Church?
When it comes to offering “resources” to help us appreciate Church, this is gloriously true: Church IS God’s resource to help us live as Christians.  So this week we recommend: Church!  
And if you want to see more of what the Bible says about Church, check out this week’s devotions!

Helpful Blog Post

Here’s a really helpful article lifting our eyes to see more than just each other in the pews on a Sunday!

5. Friendship: Walking with Christians

Jesus said: “Love each other as I have loved you.”
Friendship with Jesus is not the only gift of grace we’re considering this week; it’s that he also gives Christians to each other as friends to help us keep going through our lives as Christians.  More than that, friendship is key to helping us last all our lives as Christians.  
Why not click on this week’s devotions to help you consider God’s words to us about friendship?

Helpful Blog Post

Ever been hurt by a friend?  This article helps us consider our godly response.  Want to diagnose how gospel-centred a friend you are?  This blog post will help.  Need to think more about “speaking the truth in love” in your friendships?  Then click here.

6. Service: Serving Jesus

Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…
This week our Habit of Grace is Service: recognising how Jesus serving us not only saves us, but also sets the model for our lives.  In reflecting on this wonderful truth at the core of Christianity, why not use these devotions this week to help?

Helpful Blog Post

Why not pray this prayer to become more like our Servant Lord?  Are you unsure that serving Jesus is real freedom?  Then read this.  Wondering how we can serve one another better?  This article about serving teenagers in our church will get our hearts and minds moving: we may need to ask similar questions about how to serve other age groups or people at St Andrew’s.

7. Evangelism: Speaking about Jesus

The church is God’s chosen people, that we may declare his praises!
This week we’re seeing that we’re saved in order to speak.  We’re rescued in order to point to Jesus.  We’re being built together as God’s people to proclaim our Saviour.  And so speaking for him, engaging in evangelism, is a Habit of Grace.  Why not see more in the devotions?

Helpful Blog Posts

Isn’t evangelism just doing good works?  Take a look at this article to see why not.  What might we look like as an evangelistic church?  Read this to excite you!