Mothering Sunday, celebrated by Catholic and Protestant Christians in parts of Europe, falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter. During the 16th century, people returned to their mother church— either the church where they were baptised, or the local parish church. Later, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together. Wikipedia article
Links to videos and notes on the series to date. Includes the messages (1) The Miracle of the Resurrection; (2) Why the Bible's Miracles Matter; (3) From Nothing to Everything: The Miracle of Creation; and (4) The Miracle That Is Your Life. StoneBridge Community Church website.
For reflection/discussion: What is your response to Jesus' statement, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." What does it mean to be born again? Have you been born again? How do you know? How would you expect Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish Ruling Council, to respond to Jesus' insistence that everyone must be born again? Is there any indication in scripture about how Nicodemus responded to Jesus? (See John 19.38-40)
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer, is regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. On his death in 1832, Bentham left instructions for his body to be dissected, then permanently preserved as an "auto-icon" which would be his memorial. The auto-icon is now on public display at University College London (UCL).
"There are great measures of self-determination, as the Bible often shows, but never is man the ultimate or decisive cause of his preferences and choices. When man’s agency and God’s agency are compared, both are real, but God’s is decisive. Yet — and here’s the mystery that causes so many to stumble — God is always decisive in such a way that man’s agency is real, and his responsibility remains." –John Piper, "A Beginner's Guide to Free Will," Desiring God, July 26, 2016.
For reflection/discussion: The Bible teaches that, since we are "dead in our transgressions" (Ephesians 2.4-5) the new birth that is necessary for salvation can only come from God. Does this leave any role for us in our salvation? What does the Bible teach about the relationship between God's sovereignty and "free will"?
For reflection/discussion: What are some of the indications found in scripture that a person has been born again? What signs are evident in your life that you have been born again? 1 John 3.9 states that "No one who is born of God will continue to sin… they cannot go on sinning because they have been born of God." Do people stop sinning when they become believers? What difference, if any, is there between habitual, unrepented sin and sin that is identified, confessed, and renounced? Have you asked God for/ thanked God for a new life in Christ?