Tag: together

1 Year Review and Looking Forward…

1 Year Review and Looking Forward…

I cannot believe that after creating a Twitter account one year ago, YouBelong would be what it is now and heading in the direction it seems to be!

At the time, my Mum was working in a cafe and as I had a hospital appointment later that day, I decided to go into work with her to wait for my appointment. I can’t remember exactly what was going through my head other than that I had just completed my theology degree and was wondering what the purpose of it was as I was too unwell to use it. Then I was reminded of something my course director had told me about – online church. I didn’t really know what that would look like but knew there must be others like me who were too unwell to attend church some weeks, or maybe even every week, and others who could physically attend church but felt isolated by the complex theology and ‘Chistianese’ used in many churches. I can attend church most weeks, with the help of my parents, but have avoided some churches not because I cannot physically access them or because I can’t understand them, but because their theological teaching around pain, suffering and disability is damaging and hurtful. By giving others a safe place to share their thoughts and concerns around balancing life as a Christian with a life as a disabled or chronically ill person, and discover that God isn’t as harsh and judgmental, or formula abiding, as some places make Him out to be.

I quickly knew this project was going to be bigger than I ever intended or imagined when the number of followers grew. This was confirmed to me whilst at Spring Harvest just before Easter when a number of church leaders told me about people they knew of, within their congregation and in the community, that do not attend their churches due to disabilities or chronic illnesses. It wasn’t that they weren’t wanting to change that, but they didn’t know how.

Meeting leaders led to me being invited to a conference where lots of other church leaders gathered to discuss and help one another run their churches in the best way possible. Although a lot of the teaching was for physical churches, it gave me some ideas but more importantly, it grew my network and has helped raise awareness of people with chronic illness and disability in the Church – or not.

Around March, I started a blog (youbelong2019.wordpress.com) as a place to share my thoughts and experiences in greater detail as social media only allows for limited characters. I was shocked and surprised to find out just a few months after starting the blog that I was a finalist in the Premier Digital Awards! As the Premier Digital Conference preceded the awards show, I decided to attend that first and came away with lots of notes and more connections and I hope to work with these people over the coming year. The day flew past and suddenly YouBelong was being announced as winner of the up and coming blog! It still amazes me now and I am so thankful for all of you who guest blogged and who read the posts each week – thank you!

Before long, December was here and with that, advent. I knew I wanted to arrange something for us to do together as a community and after seeing the idea to study the 24 chapters of Luke in 24 days, that the 24 days before Christmas would be perfectly suited to that. I wanted to ensure that people from all platforms (YouBelong is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram now) were able to participate so I posted every day on every platform. It was a bigger commitment than I initially realised but I was thankful for having done it as I not only learnt more about the stories in Luke’s gospel but also got to interact with more of you and have since heard stories of couples reading the chapter together each day and some people sharing them with others they know to encourage them which I love to hear!

And know we are into 2020, YouBelong is 1 year old and we have LOADS of exciting plans in place to move things forward in new ways this year. One of the biggest things that we hope and plan to do is register as a charity so that we have access to funding to enable the team to grow, to reach isolated people where they are, provide resources and training for churches and start a more official online church for those who cannot attend church, either at all or occasionally. This will also include a connect group which will begin on Facebook and be a closed group of people who study the same passages/ topic together so if you are interested in getting involved, I highly recommend following us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/youbelong2019 now as this will be launching in the next few weeks!

I am excited for what the year ahead has to bring and hope you are too! If you have any ideas of things you would like to see included then please get in touch either via email at info@youbelong.org.uk or on our social media.

Pilate sends Jesus to Herod

Pilate sends Jesus to Herod

Study of Luke 23:6-12

We are almost at the end of this book now (only 2 chapters left to go!) and things are getting messy! Jesus has been falsely arrested and now the authorities are battling over what to do with this ‘troublemaker’.

  1. Pilate only sends Jesus to Herod in Luke’s account. Why do you think Luke wanted to include this information?
  2. Why was Herod wanting to meet Jesus? How long had he been waiting?
  3. Why did Herod get Jesus dressed up in a robe like a king?
  4. Why do you think that Jesus spoke to Pilate but refused to reply to Herod?
  5. Why was Jesus sent back to Pilate again at the end of the passage?
Peter says he doesn't know Jesus

Peter says he doesn't know Jesus

Luke 22:54-62

I am sure you will know this passage already so I am just going to give a quick summary before getting into the questions for today:

Jesus is arrested, Peter follows, people around question Peter about his connection with Jesus, he denies knowing Jesus, once, twice, three times, then the roaster crows and Peter remembers that he told Jesus he would never deny him but Jesus told him he would do so three times before the roaster crowed….. and breathe!

  1. Why is Jesus taken straight to the high priest after being arrested?
  2. Why does Peter deny knowing Jesus?
  3. Why does Peter cry when he denies Jesus for the third time? What is he remembering?
  4. Previously, Jesus used the Greek word agape for love the first two times, while Peter used a different word, phileoAgape carries the meaning of intense, complete, devoted, sacrificial love, while phileo refers to love as in friendship. Why do you think they used different words?
  5. What can we learn from this and apply to our lives today?
Jerusalem will be destroyed

Jerusalem will be destroyed

Study of Luke 21:20-24

The passage prior to this one is a prediction of the end of time and warns us, as Christians, to expect conflict and harm from others. This passage that follows is yet another prediction of times to come but where the previous one ends by telling us faith will save us, this one seems to end as darkly as it begins.

  1. What is different about the way in which Jesus talks about the destruction of Jerusalem here versus in Matthew 24:15-22 and Mark 13:14-20?
  2. At the end of this passage the statement “until the times of the Gentiles” is given – what does this mean?
  3. How do these prophecies of Jesus reinforce your faith in Him?
Jesus will die in Jerusalem

Jesus will die in Jerusalem

Study of Luke 13:31-35

We are very far away now from the lovely Christmas story that is usually told at this time of year. We are deep into the mud and mire of Jesus’ life and the sadness and darkness is building. The baby, kings, sheep and cosy stable are far away but this is the reality of Jesus’ life and our lives too. Christmas is great, but it doesn’t last forever. We have work to do and it won’t be happy, jolly, fun all the time – sometimes, it requires sacrifice and pain too.

  1. In previous passages, the Pharisees have tried to trick or even endanger Jesus. Why are they warning Him about Herod now?
  2. Why does Jesus refer to Herod as a fox?
  3. What is the importance of Jerusalem here? Why does Jesus say He cannot be killed outside of Jerusalem?
  4. Who was Jesus greatest enemy at this point? Herod? The religious leaders? The general public?
  5. Does Jesus let the adversity affect Him or what He decides to do going forward?
Who's who?

Who's who?

Luke 7:18-35

This passage is not short nor simple. There are alot of topics covered in a short period of time, and it can be hard to make sense of what is going on. Other than when he baptises Jesus, this is the only passage dedicated to John. We are told in the first chapter of the book that he was born to start the work Jesus would complete but now, John is unsure if Jesus really is the Lord, and sends people out to find out the truth (in Matthew’s book, we find out this is because he was in prison and couldn’t go alone).

  1. What do you think has happened to make John start doubting Jesus’ authority, position and power?
  2. When John’s disciples have left, Jesus flips the question they asked him on its head, asking those around Him who they think John is. Why do you think He did this?
  3. The passage finishes one with one line –”But wisdom is proved to be right by what it does.” What does this mean and what does it have to do with the previous conversations?

Lord of the Sabbath

In Luke 6:1-5, we that once again, Jesus and His disciples are being rebellious by being different and doing things that were not permitted. Doing any work on the Sabbath was viewed as wrong by the authorities. Even drawing water from the well or cooking were too much for the people of the day to do on a Sabbath, so when the disciples were picking and crushing grains, they knew they were doing wrong in the eyes of the law.

  1. Remembering Jesus was with them, why do you think the disciples chose to carry out this act? What does it say about their view of the Jewish rules/ rulers of the time?
  2. Why do you think Jesus told the Pharisees ‘The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath’? What do you think He meant and how do you think the Pharisees understood it?
  3. What do you think the purpose of the retelling of this event is for us today, and what do you take away from it personally?