Life can be unpalatable - but with Jesus you can find flavour

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11 September, 2022Riley BertramLIFE

Please connect in with Riley's sermon on Sunday 11 September as he delves into the Life Series.

Some times things are not pleasant to taste or we find difficult to put up with or accept - but with Jesus we can find the flavour.

John 21:15-17

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”

He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Sun 110922


This study aims to remind us to not let the past (good or bad) stop us from living for God today and for tomorrow.

One goal of these Bible studies is not just to get you to learn about the Bible but to encourage you to study the Bible for yourself. This week, I will show you a little of my thought process while doing this study. I hope it inspires you to ask your own questions and to follow where they lead.

Question 1:

Read Ecclesiastes 7:8-14 which is the basis of the first three questions.

Concentrate on v10 which was the start of my musings. I always start with the presumption that the Bible is true, and wise and was written with a good purpose. So:

1) What is wrong with always looking back at the past?

2) Were the “good old days” as good as we remember them?

Question 2

Next, I looked at the surrounding verses to see if they would help me understand v10 better. I found two interesting comments in verses 8 and 13-14 that increased my appreciation of v10.

Concentrate on v8.

1) What does it mean that the end is better than the beginning?

2) What is the end of the matte?

3) Why would patience in enduring your time now be better (or more profitable) than remembering with pride your glorious past?

4) How does v8 relate to v10? My conclusion was that we should not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” because we do not know how things will end. A current bad time may still lead to a glorious end. Do you agree? Discuss.

Question 3

Concentrate on V13-14

What does it mean to us that God is in control of giving us both our good and bad days?

Can our opinion on whether we were better or worse in the past change what God has and will allow in our life?

Do we know how things will end up in the end?

How should this change the way we live our lives today?

How do v13-14 relate to v10? My conclusion was that God is in charge of our days and he has his reasons for giving or allowing the present circumstances to occur. Pining, “Why were the old days better than these?” will neither bring them back, nor allow us to see what God is doing today. Do you agree? Discuss.

Question 4

My next step was to find how this verse connects with the rest of the Bible. Were there any related examples or illustrations to be found elsewhere?

This type of process is helped by using a number of resources. These include word studies, topical studies and chain links. A good concordance will also allow you to find where a particular word has been used elsewhere. I also benefited in this study from reviewing some other Christian writings. These included some sermons, articles, and commentaries. While I do not want to be dependent on what other people say, I did find their guidance valuable. 

I found a number of interesting connections with the story of Job, some parables of Jesus and also the life of Paul. Let us finish off this study by reviewing 3 aspects of Paul’s life that I found fascinating.

Read Acts 24:27, Acts 25:23-27, Acts 26:24-29

1) How would you feel after being shut up as a political prisoner for 2 years? Angry? Full of regrets?

2) What opportunity did these two years bring that would not have occurred otherwise?

3) Is it possible that God can use our present difficulties to create greater opportunities to bless others later on?

4) Following from the previous questions, are you surprised at what Paul says in v29? What would you say in this if you were Paul? 

Question 5

Read Philippians 2:14-15, Philippians 3:12-14, Philippians 4:10-13

The book of Philippians was written when Paul was sitting in another jail cell.

1) Would you be disappointed being restricted in a cell? -again?

2) Despite this, what is Paul’s outlook on life?

3) Why is he so upbeat about sitting in such a miserable situation?

4) What can we learn from this?

Question 6

Read 2 Timothy 4:9-22

We looked at Paul’s last words last week, but I would like to reflect on them again.

What was his attitude to the past?

1) Concentrate on 11-13 and v21. Considering he expects to die soon, what is his attitude to the future? Is he slowing down or wallowing in the past?

2) Are you surprised? 

3) What does this say about how we should look at the future?

More from 'LIFE'

Life can be unfulfilling BUT WITH JESUS you can find meaning

25 September, 2022 Stephen Scott

Pastor Stephen spoke the final word on the series Life with Jesus.

Life with Jesus is a totally new life - from a human point of view things don't change so much but we feel a whole lot different when we have Jesus in our lives. It frees us from living for ourselves and life a life of faith.




So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honouring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness. Titus 2:11-14

Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galatians 2:20

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. - John 10:10

And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. - John 17:3

…The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. - 2 Corinthians 5:17-20


Life can be unpredictable but with Jesus you can find certainty

28 August, 2022 Bill Tyrie

The issue of the “unpredictability” in life is one that we all feel from time to time.

King Solomon also faced unpredictability.

Ecclesiastes 8:7 (LB)

“Yes, there is a time and a way for everything, though man’s trouble lies heavy upon him; for how can he avoid what he doesn’t know is going to happen?”

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 (Message)

“I took another walk around the neighbourhood and realized that on this earth as it is—

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,

Nor satisfaction to the wise, nor riches to the smart,

Nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all.

No one can predict misfortune. Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds in a trap,

So men and women are caught by accidents evil and sudden.”

We invite you to take some time to listen to Pastor Bill's sermon or devotional time on the Sermon Questions attached.

As Christians, we too will face unexpected storms. The key is to start turning our focus onto Jesus.

To take the unpredictable moments to him - in prayer and devotion.


Life can be unclear - but with Jesus you can find clarity

21 August, 2022 Stephen Scott

Life can be unclear - especially when we don't see the full picture.

Connect in with Pastor Stephen as he preached The Word last Sunday on Life can be unclear but with Jesus you can find clarity.

1 Kings 19:13b-18

Then a voice said to him,

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”


Psalm 73:15-20 (MSG)

If I’d have given in and talked like this, I would have betrayed your dear children.Still, when I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache . . .Until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I saw the whole picture:The slippery road you’ve put them on, with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.In the blink of an eye, disaster! A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing. There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

Turn our eyes to Jesus for Clarity.


Life can be unsatisfying-but with Jesus you can find (Godly) satisfaction

14 August, 2022 Bill Tyrie

We are currently travelling through the book of Ecclesiastes, authored by King Solomon

And over the next few weeks we have and will be looking over his observations of Life, especially when we set his statements alongside the teachings of Jesus.

Pastor Bill's sermon from Sunday 14th August is entitled “Life can be unsatisfying, but with Jesus you can find Godly satisfaction”

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NIV)

“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.”

Matthew 6:24-34 (Message)

24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen colour and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.


Life can be unfair-but with Jesus you can find equality

7 August, 2022 Sonya Bertram

If you missed Pastor Sonya's sermon on Sunday 7 August, we encourage you to watch/listen to the the Youtube recording attached.

Here's a segment for you to consider:

In this fallen world, things are not always fair or equal. Lives every day across this globe are impacted with unjust acts that cause death, pain, injuries, torment and the like. So why is it as Christians we think we should be exempt from being mistreated by another? Life is touched, ripped apart, blown up by people who do unjust acts toward innocent people all across this world. It’s a fact of life and we need to understand it’s going to happen and our response to it makes a difference.

- We need to keep our integrity.

- We need to be content in our life situation.

- We must resist the temptation to try to manipulate the situation with our own self-centred ways.

- We need to learn the discipline of prayer to stay the course of the Lord in our lives.

- We must learn the discipline of patience.

- We must not become consumed with the “woe is me” focus.

- We must not become whiners.

- We must make the best of our situation and seek God’s wisdom, and direction.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 (NIV)

Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness

“Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:

I saw the tears of the oppressed—

and they have no comforter;

power was on the side of their oppressors—

and they have no comforter.”

Ecclesiastes 8:11-12 (NIV)

11” When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.”

Matthew 20:1-16 (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denariusa] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”