StAG Mag April 2016

StAG MAG April 2016 • • Alasdair Paine standrewthegreat • @StAG_Cambridge DEAR FRIENDS… What is God’s purpose for our church? How can we be really effective in that purpose? The Apostle Paul considered this essential information for Timothy, his younger colleague. Timothy had oversight of the church in mid-first-century Ephesus; different versions of ‘Christianity’ were circulating which might derail this fine pastor and his church from God’s purposes. So he wrote the letter we now call ‘1 Timothy’, which we’ll be reading at our 10.00am and 11.30am services this term. Paul tells Timothy that the church is no less than God’s household: the pillar and foundation of the truth, privileged members of God’s family and central to His plans to make His truth known to the world. How were Timothy and his church to effectively proclaim the gospel to wealthy, pagan Ephesus? Paul provides practicalities: avoiding distractions, understanding ourselves, selecting and providing for leaders, caring for vulnerable members, attitudes to wealth, the minister’s work and the perennially knotty question of the roles of men and women in the church. Throughout the letter, Paul draws his specific instructions for first-century Ephesus from God’s universal principles for His church, so be prepared to have our thinking today at StAG freshened! Our 5.00pm service talks will be exploring the treasures of the first ten chapters of Isaiah. We will have our vision of God sharpened and our hope strengthened as the prophet confronts human sinfulness and weakness with His mighty power. Both these series will be important for us as a church. You will get the most out of them by reading the passages ahead of the sermons and by making every effort to arrive fresh and in good time (i.e. at least five minutes before the advertised start time). Looking forward to your company! Vic Ritchie MASTERING MICAH Any idea what Micah’s about? Me neither… until we had to study it in HUB last year and I started reading Dale Ralph Davis’s excellent guide to Micah (now available at a discounted price from the bookstall). The prophet Micah lived in the dark years of Israel’s history, in a corrupt society where the vulnerable were exploited and the leadership just told people what they wanted to hear. Davis writes so vividly, helping us to really feel Micah’s deep anguish over the seriousness of sin and the brutal reality of God’s coming judgment. This is alongside Davis’s keen and contemporary applications which turn the spotlight sharply onto God’s people today. He helps us to reflect (however uncomfortably) on the complacency, ingratitude and religiosity that we see now, and how faithful believers can stand firm even when everyone else seems to have given up. Amidst all that turmoil, Davis also picks out Micah’s glimmers of hope by showing how Jesus fulfils all his prophecies about a shepherd-king to come. Micah EP Study Commentary This book opens up Micah’s world; shines a brilliant light on the Lord Jesus; is both realistic By Dale Ralph Davis and comforting about life as a believer today and helps us to long for the new creation, just Evangelical Press. 194 pages. £11.25 £8 as Micah did. If you want to make the most of studying Micah, get reading this book! -1-