RIVERSIDE BLOG

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Speaker: Nathanael Ballew

Nathanael is a member of our leadership team and is responsible for organising all the Gatherings that happen across Riverside. He also works for Riverside Performing Arts (RPA).
September 18, 2022
Is There A God? | Session 1

BY: Nathanael Ballew
DATE: Sunday 18 September 2022

BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
1 Luke (Chapter 1, verses 46-55)
Psalm 53

EXCERPT:
Thousands of years ago a poet wrote the words, ‘ The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God!’ (Psalm 53) In a recent survey, over 40% of people in the UK say that don’t believe in God. What do we make of that? What difference does it make to how we live our lives? Without a shadow of a doubt, one man has had a greater impact on history than any other – Jesus of Nazareth. Was he a fool to believe in God?

Bible Study Questions

We invite you to use the below questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk. Ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.

1 | One day, a friend says to you, ‘I just don’t believe there is a God.’ What would you say to them?

 

2 | In Psalm 53, David provocatively says that only a ‘fool’ says in his heart ‘there is no God’ (v1). What evidence does David give in this Psalm for why that is the case?

 

3 |In a sense, David outlines the ‘moral’ evidence (v1,3,4) for God’s existence, as well as the ‘existential’ evidence (v5). The author Julian Barnes famously said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.’ In what ways does our society depend on a belief in God, as well as experience the void of not believing in a ‘higher power’?

 

4 | Read Luke 1:46-55. Having heard the news that she is pregnant with the messiah, Mary pours out her heart in praise and dependence. What are the different characteristics of God that she outlines here? Why helpful perspectives do they give to her – and us – during times of real upheaval?

 

5 |According to Mary, who are the people that are most likely to rely on and need God? Where do we see this lived out in our world? What warnings are there in this passage for those who are ‘comfortable’ without God?

 

6 | The comedian Frank Skinner once said, ‘I have friends who are atheists. There’s this mate of mine. He says, “It’s such rubbish. Come back to my flat and I’ll make a cup of tea and we’ll talk the whole thing through.” So I go back with him and he puts the kettle on. “The thing is, Frank, the universe – it just happened. A big bang, an accident, no one made it happen. There’s no great designer, no thought went into it or planning, it just happened – do you get it? … Anyway, that cup of tea won’t make itself.” I said, “Why not?”  What do you make of this quote? What do your friends think of God?

 

7 | Take some time to pray that God would reveal himself to any friends or family who seem to have no need of God. Pray that God would give you opportunities to show humble dependence on God to them.

RESOURCES

BOOK: ‘Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t: The Beauty of Christian Theism’ by Gavin Ortlund.

PODCAST: Why God makes sense in a world that doesn’t with Gavin Ortlund.

ARTICLE: David Bowie ‘turned to God’ in his last days – https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/david-bowie-didnt-fear-death-7169844

VIDEO: Each week we will share a video from the Alpha Film Series. We encourage you to watch with when you meet with your Group; or during your own personal Bible Study time.

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Riverside is a church made up of people from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences all with one thing in common, our discovery of God and his amazing love. 

We are on a journey together to ‘help people get to know Jesus and grow as his followers’. 

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