Our new teaching series, beginning May 2017
From 21st May, our first Sunday in a new venue at mac Birmingham, we’re going to be starting a brand new teaching series called “City Adventures”. Each week, we’ll be releasing notes from the talk, discussion points and application questions alongside the recordings as a way of resourcing you and helping you go deeper into everything we’ll be looking at together. These are primarily designed for use in a Small Group context, (just drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re not yet part of one), but will hopefully be helpful even if you can’t make it along to one. Here’s a little bit about what we’re going to be looking at, and why we’re doing this series now:
Jeremiah 29: 4–7
“4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’”
- 2 Kings 21–25 provides the historical backdrop for Jeremiah’s prophesy.
- King Nebuchudnezzar of Babylon has invaded Jerusalem and carried a large number of God’s people into exile, along with articles from the temple. God had said this would happen.
- This was a time of uncertainty, upheaval and confusion.
- False prophets were feeding the idea that the period of exile in Babylon would be very short (a few years) and thus encouraging general antagonism towards Babylon and resistance to settling there.
Jeremiah prophesies into this context with God’s message to the people, which emphasises that God Himself is carrying His people into exile in Babylon. God is Sovereign (not Nebuchadnezzar) and God is good. He cares for His people and has not abandoned them. In this moment of upheaval, He knows the good plans for them — plans to prosper them and give them a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:10–14) And His plan includes catching up others in the blessing of His people.
Why this series now?
Pause: Oasis has been in a moment of transition, involving some uncertainty. During such times it is easy to simply look in as a community — at our resources, our plans, our strategies, our interests, our hopes and fears. Ensuring the wellbeing of the community is vital and good. However, this is a moment not to overly inwards but to ensure we are consistently looking up and out.
Centre: Now is a moment for us, together, to be enjoying God and embracing the adventure he calls us to in the City he has placed us in. We’re here to love Him and love the people around us. Often as Christians we can like the idea of an adventure but kick against the experience of it. God calls us to an adventure with Him with all the uncertainty, discomfort, loss of control and upheaval that involves. Our centre point is this… He is with us, He is in control and He is so good!
Continue: Let’s embrace the adventure, even when it doesn’t feel nice, rejoicing in who Jesus is, remembering that He has placed us here in Birmingham, and enjoying the call upon us all to be good news to the City!