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Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission

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1 Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission
Faith, Hope and Love Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission

2 Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission
Faith, Hope and Love Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission Lent to Pentecost: Individual Pentecost to Advent: Local Church Advent to Easter 2013: Deanery

3 Love is the beginning... And now faith, hope and love abide,
these three, and the greatest of these is love [1 Corinthians 13: 13

4 God is Love God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

5 God is Love In this is love; not that we loved God
but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. [1 John 4: 7-12]

6 Your story begins... With a God who creates you for love
Who desires to make you whole Who seeks you and calls you by name

7 Love says: ‘Come’ Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters
And you that have no money, come buy and eat ...Incline your ear and come to me; listen, so that you may live. [Isaiah 55:1-3]

8 Love says: ‘Come’ Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [Matthew 11:28-30]

9 Love’s invitation...our response
Share an experience, large or small, through which you sensed God’s love. It is often harder to receive than to give. How easy is it for you to allow God to love you as you are? What Gospel story most speaks to you of the love of God and why? We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

10 The response to love Faith and Hope

11 Faith is the choice to trust
Without the risk of trust there can be no deepening of relationship While we often think of faith as assent to truths, Christian faith is centred in trust in another – in God.

12 Faith opens the way for love
I pray that according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love [Ephesians 3: 14 – 21] Faith is the choice made to trust God with what is important to us. Through faith we become open to receive the love of God Our lives become established in love.

13 Part of a community of faith
The Creed expresses how we are a community of faith, not just across place but across time. We are surrounded by ‘a cloud of witnesses’ [Hebrews 12] - people who dared to place their trust in God and who share their experience and understanding with us.

14 We believe... in a ‘present tense’ God...
God is creative in your life as it is today, summoning you into fullness of life

15 We believe... in a ‘present tense’ God...
Jesus is God with you in the place where you are today, alongside you in your struggles

16 We believe in a present tense God...
Jesus invites you to follow him, to stay in his company You looked with love upon me and deep within your eyes imprinted grace: this mercy set me free, held in your love’s embrace, to lift my eyes adoring to your face John of the Cross

17 We believe in a present tense God...
The Holy Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life, is within you

18 Faith is our response to God’s invitation
Jesus said, ‘Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch’. Simon answered, ‘Master we have worked all night long and caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let out the nets’ ...When they had brought their boats to shore they left everything and followed him, Luke 5: 1-11

19 Faith is an action more than a feeling
We rarely experience the feeling of total trust. More often we wonder how safe it is to give ourselves into God’s hands. We would rather have life in our own control, yet recognise the limits of this way of living. Faith is an action – a choice to go where God leads, to let go into God’s care even if part of us wants to draw back .

20 Faith as ‘letting go’ We let go when we renounce our need to be in total control of our life or when we choose to stay with a situation that seems to have no resolution. At these times we rest in God, knowing there is no more we can do.

21 Faith as stepping out We step out when God invites us to move beyond the narrow confines of our existence – to take a new path, to consent to be the one who says with Isaiah ‘here I am, send me’ even though we feel ourselves to be inadequate.

22 Faith and prayer To pray is an act of faith.
We set aside activity and enter into the stillness of prayer, even when prayer seems empty and useless. We pray not just to get results [the answer we want, or a tangible sense of God’s presence] but to renew our choice to make relationship with God the heart of our existence

23 God’s faith in you... ‘Faith’ is not one-sided.
Before ever we place our trust in God, God places trust in us. God sees what we can be and labours continually to bring this about in us.

24 The way of faith... Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. [Hebrews 12:1-2]

25 The way of faith – your response
Write a Creed using your own words and drawing on your experience of God Share a time when have you sensed God inviting you to step out or to let go. In what area of your life today do you sense the need of faith?

26 Understanding Hope Hope leads us to act purposefully in the present ... as we anticipate the work of Love in the future... through drawing on the memory of love received in the past. And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace by your faith in him, until by the power of the Holy Spirit, you overflow with hope" Romans 15: 13

27 Hope is not wishful thinking
Wishful thinking is often an avoidance of reality. It is passive in nature. It expresses a belief – or doubt – in the hand of fickle fate. It tends to have a fixed understanding of what the desired outcome is and how it will be achieved. In everyday speech we say: ‘I hope it doesn’t rain today’ or ‘I hope my bus comes soon’.

28 Christian hope... Begins with what ‘is’, facing this reality.
Hope sees not just what is, but what can be. It is not blind to obstacles; it takes them seriously and is practical in addressing them.

29 Christian hope... Hope is active, flowing from the activity of the Spirit within us Hope is an expression of faith that God is enduringly creative and resourceful within what is.

30 Christian hope... Hope flows from belief in God who is ever incarnate in what ‘is’. In Christ God continually enters our broken, suffering and disunited world and by his living, dying and rising makes all things new.

31 Christian hope... Hope is not only about what we believe but what we live. Hope is the overflow of the Spirit renewing us and engaging us in bringing about a new creation in Christ

32 Christian hope... Hope moves us into God’s vision for ourselves, our church and our neighbourhood. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor Isaiah 61

33 Hope as Co-operation with the Spirit
Hope expresses the willingness to work in partnership with God. In our lives and in our work we seek to understand what the Spirit is doing and to co-operate with this work.

34 Hope involves waiting... Waiting is active
We work and search, for life is in our hands. It is the one who seeks who finds, and the one who asks who receives, and the one who knocks who will find the door opened Luke 11

35 Hope involves waiting... Waiting is passive
We wait for the right time to come, for growth to take its course, and to receive by gift what cannot be ours by effort alone.

36 Hope involves waiting and working
This is what the kingdom of God is like: a man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come...Mark 4: 26-29

37 Living in hope – your response
When you reflect on your own experience of life and of the goodness of God what is the message of hope that you have to share with others? How does hope inform your vision for what you work for? How does hope move you into action? In what area of your life do you want to ask for God’s gift of hope at this time?

38 Expressing love You looked with love upon me and deep within your eyes imprinted grace: this mercy set me free, held in your love’s embrace, to lift my eyes adoring to your face John of the Cross When someone loves us unconditionally it is transformational: we begin to believe in ourselves more and are drawn out of negative attitudes and behaviour. It is like the sun breaking through on a cloudy day.

39 Expressing Love Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. [1 Corinthians 13: 1-8]

40 Expressing Love Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:11 Love never ends – it has no boundaries. God gives without ever considering whether it is wise to give so much or if we deserve it.

41 Expressing love Love is the work of the Spirit within us. It is:
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them [1 John 4:16] Love is the work of the Spirit within us. It is: creative compassionate practical generous

42 Expressing Love We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or a sister they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. I John 4:19-20

43 Expressing Love We do not always feel love . Love is a choice to act for another’s benefit. In prayer we allow God to shape our thoughts, attitudes and responses

44 Expressing love Love is the fullness of God’s self-expression and our self-expression. Everything will live where the river goes... Ezekiel 47

45 Expressing love – your response
Remember someone who showed you genuine love – share one way you experienced this How do we begin to love those we don’t like? Is there anyone, or any group of people that God is drawing you to express love in practical ways at this time? How might you begin? Let us love not in word or speech but in truth and action 1John 3:18

46 Love is the beginning... And now faith, hope and love abide,
these three, and the greatest of these is love [1 Corinthians 13: 13

47 Taking faith, hope and love back to your congregations:
Use Bishop Christopher’s Call to Mission invitation In the booklet On the diocesan website

48 Taking faith, hope and love back to your congregations:
Use these resources: Powerpoint presentation handouts on... love as the beginning / faith hope expressing love with associated exercises Lent group? One off event?

49 Taking faith, hope and love back to your congregations
Plan an away-day or half-day on faith, hope and love for later in 2012 Other resources available within the diocesan website

50 Faith, hope and love prayer
God of faith, deepen our faith so we may bear witness to Christ in the world; God of hope, strengthen our hope so we may be signposts to your transforming presence; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile and divided world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen

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