Sunday Services

Sunday Church Service

Sunday 9th August 2020

 

Readings  Psalm 85.8-13; Matthew 14.22-33

 

Call to Worship.  Jesus said: ‘Take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Our God is a powerful God,
who does things way beyond our understanding. But we have no need to fear,
for we know we are safe in God’s presence. Let us come to our God now. Let us bow down and worship.  Amen

 

MP 625 Take time to be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;

abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.

Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak.

forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

 
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be.

Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.


Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide;

and run not before Him, whatever betide;

in joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,

and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

 

Prayer and Lord’s prayer. As we approach you today, Lord, we probably feel pretty much like Peter –
full of bravado to begin with, but then just not quite so certain of ourselves. We come to you, Jesus,
trusting that even if we feel ourselves beginning to sink under the pressures that we face, we know you are still there holding us up. Please reassure us that you won’t let go, no matter how we feel.  Father we are sorry for the times we take our eyes off you, and seek to do things in our own strength. Sorry for the times we doubt that you can keep us on the straight and narrow. We are sorry for the times we ask you for signs. Lord, we pray that you will forgive our doubts and hesitations, show us your loving presence,
especially when we most need it, and teach us to trust you at all times. God of the earth and the waves,
we praise you that you more than meet all our needs. You call us out from our security to experience your adventures and blessings. You don’t want us to be stuck in the harbour. You want us out in deep water –and you’ll be with us. We praise you, Lord.  Lord’s prayer

Amen.

MP 147 Fill your hearts with joy and gladness,

sing and praise your god and mine! 

Great the Lord in love and wisdom,

might and majesty divine!

He who framed the starry heavens

knows and names them as they shine.

 

Praise the lord, His people, praise him!

wounded souls His comfort know; those who fear Him find His mercies,

peace for pain and joy for woe;

humble hearts are high exalted,

human pride and power laid low.

 

Praise the lord for times and seasons,

cloud and sunshine, wind and rain;

spring to melt the snows of winter

till the waters flow again;

grass upon the mountain pastures,

golden valleys thick with grain.

 

Fill your hearts with joy and gladness,

peace and plenty crown your days;

love His laws, declare His judgements,

walk in all his words and ways;

He the lord and we His children,

praise the Lord, all people, praise!

 

All Age  One morning, when the disciples were out in their boat on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus taught   the disciples and especially Peter a great lesson, the lesson was how to trust in Jesus.  The lesson began as Jesus was walking on the water towards the fishing boat that the disciples were in. They were quite frightened. After all they were fishermen and knew that they could not walk on the water.  The disciples thought that Jesus must be a ghost.  But Jesus spoke to them to calm their fears which let them know that it was Jesus walking towards them on the water and not a ghost. Peter, then asked Jesus if he could join him walking on the waters of Galilee.  When Jesus said “Come”, Peter got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. Can you just see the picture in your mind’s eye of Peter stepping out of that boat and onto the water. Would that not just be so amazing to be able to walk on the sea or lake? Peter was fine until he heard the wind howling around him and he looked down at his feet and the water was swirling around his feet. Peter lost his concentration on Jesus and was scared because he was sinking. Peter called out to Jesus for help and Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter and said to Him: “You of little faith - why did you doubt?” When Peter concentrated on Jesus, he was enabled to join Jesus and to walk on water. But when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and listened to the wind and saw the waves, he became afraid and started to sink.  We are asked occasionally to do things in life that are not always easy.  Like for example lead a prayer group with people you do not know well but if you put your trust Jesus He will give you the words to say. Just focus your eyes and ears and listen the words will come to you. So be encouraged to keep your focus upon Jesus. Trust him in your walk by faith!

MP 1003   sing twice

My Jesus, My Saviour Lord there is none like You.

All of my days, I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love.

My Comfort, my Shelter tower of refuge and strength,

let every breath, all that I am never cease to worship You.

  

Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing.

power and majesty, praise to the King.

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar

at the sound of Your name.

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,

forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand.

Nothing compares to the promise I have in You!

 

Psalm 85 8-13  8I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly. 9Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. 10Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 12The Lord will indeed give what is good, our land will yield its harvest. 13Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps. Amen.

Prayers of intercession  Faithful God, we bring you our prayers for all who are fearful. We pray for those who face physical danger as part of their work; for those who risk their lives to help others, for police and ambulance services, fire fighters and armed forces, for those who travel to war-torn countries to take food, medicines and relief to those in wisdom, care and protection. We pray for those who are fearful for the future; those anxious about their work and possible redundancy or unemployment; for patients facing pain or surgery, or waiting for results of tests; of the new pandemic outbreak in pockets in and around our cities and for those who are grieving, unsure how to face the future in the loss of a loved ones.  We especially pray for the people of Lebanon.  God of hope, we pray that you will give them strength to face their fears, and to trust you for the way ahead. We pray for those who live with the fear of violence day by day; those struggling to survive in places of conflict, those who fear attacks on the streets, those who live with violence and abuse in the home, and those who face hostility because of discrimination and prejudice. God of freedom, we pray that you will give them confidence and courage, and help them and others to work for places and communities of safety. We pray for ourselves, when we are fearful and uncertain, conscious of the forces that threaten us and aware of our own vulnerability. God of encouragement, we ask that we will find confidence and strength in your faithfulness.
Amen

MP770   Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,

when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,

will your anchor drift or firm remain?

 
Refrain: We have an anchor that keeps the soul

steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

fastened to the rock which cannot move,

grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love!


Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,

when the breakers roar and the reef is near?

While the surges rave and the wild winds blow

shall the angry waves then your bark o'er flow?

 

Refrain


Will your eyes behold through the morning light,

the city of gold and the harbour bright?

Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore,

when life's storms are past forever more?

 
Refrain

 

Mathew 14 22-33 - Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Thanks be to God for the reading of His Holy Word and to Him be all praise. Amen

Sermon Keep Your Faith’s True Focus. A young man was learning to fly and was in a small plane with his tutor on landing he hit the runway and bounced several times before stopping. The instructor said, “That was a very bad landing you just made.” “Me?” replied the student. “I thought you were landing!” God never makes a mistake with your life, but you must let Him take control.  

If you are playing football or tennis or rugby and you do not listen to your coach when he or she tells you to keep your eye on the ball?  What are the consequences when you are chopping vegetables and don’t pay attention?  DIY is another possible danger in the home. Driving the car is especially one which you have to focus your attention on, as with the others concentration is a must. We have to learn to focus on what we are doing not just in sport, cooking or doing DIY in the home, but in our faith life. The fundamental meaning of Faith is our trust in God. If we do not focus and trust in what we have been taught, then our faith is lost. It is a big strong message that Jesus was giving to his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. He was teaching them to trust and have faith in Him. We today have to learn this lesson and focus on our faith and trust in God. When trust is failing then our focus on God fails also. Then it is hard to trust anyone or anything. In keeping our faith and trust fresh we will learn to trust and obey.

Just as last week’s reading being so well known to us then so does this one. Many of us have probably heard them numerous times and we can maybe think. Oh, Here we go again what can I learn this time around?  I hope we can always learn something new from the Gospels.  Jesus told the disciples to go on ahead and he would catch up with them, He at last got the space and time needed to pray to his Father in Heaven.   He was in prayer for quite a long time before he followed on to catch up with the disciples. In the meantime, a storm had blown up and the men were finding it difficult to make headway in the boat. They were wary of being in the middle of the storm. While they were fighting the wind and waves they saw something ahead on the water, but it was not a thing, it was Jesus walking towards them on the water. They thought they were seeing things and were frightened by this phenomenon. But Jesus speaks to them and says  “Take Courage” and “Ego eimi” when translated means “I Am.” Their Faith was certainly knocked sideways and this is what Jesus focused on. He reminded them of Moses and the burning bush where God had promised He would always be with them. But of course not just in the old days, He is with them, as he is with us now and into the future. He is always with us guiding, supporting, forgiving, and loving us here and now. We have to have patience to focus and trust in faith.  God will give us what we need in time not when we say God we want it now. Just as he went to the Disciples in the middle of a storm and calmed the storm then he will come to us in our time of trouble to bring order and calm back to our lives. We have to do as Jesus says to his disciples, “Take courage; don’t be afraid, I AM.”  Peter thinks if Jesus can walk on water then I can do likewise and says. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus invites him to come. The image comes to mind of him scrambling out of the boat, full of faith focusing totally on Jesus, but as we know he took his eyes of the ball saw and heard the wind and the waves around him and began to sink. Mathew being one of the witnesses to this tells us in his Gospel that, Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him. There is a small scolding on Jesus part, “Why did you doubt?” but it is more a question than a scolding.  “Why doubt? Remember I can always take care of you.”. I am certain that you and I have been like Peter at some time in our lives. Focusing on trying to sort out a problem by ourselves without asking God first for assistance in our troubles. Do we lose some of our faith in the everyday trials and forget to focus on the one who gives us life and cares for us always.  Yet even when we are not focusing on our faith and are sinking and feel unable to solve the problems in our lives Jesus is focused on us and takes us by the hand like he did for Peter and pulls us from the depths he forgives our lack of trust and reminds us “You of little faith,”  “Why do you doubt my love for you? Why do you doubt my ability to protect and help you? Why do you doubt my forgiveness?” Jesus trusted God in all that he did even to the cross to forgive our sins. That is true love and faith in the, “ I am”  Let us be like Jesus and Focus  our Faith in God  who loves us unconditionally  and cares for us not just today but tomorrow and forever more. As in the hymn Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

MP178

Go forth and tell! O church of God, awake!

God's saving news to all the nations take;

proclaim Christ Jesus, Saviour, Lord, and King,

that all the world his worthy praise may sing.

 

Go forth and tell! God's love embraces all;

He will in grace respond to all who call:

how shall they call if they have never heard

the gracious invitation of His word?

 

Go forth and tell where still the darkness lies;

in wealth or want, the sinner surely dies:

give us, O Lord, concern of heart and mind,

a love like Yours which cares for all mankind.

 

Go forth and tell! The doors are open wide:

share God's good gifts let no one be denied;

live out your life as Christ your Lord shall choose,

your ransomed powers for his sole glory use.

 

Go forth and tell! O church of God, arise!

Go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies;

go till all nations his great name adore

and serve him, Lord and king for evermore.

 

Benediction

God calls us to step out in faith, to follow where He leads even if what He calls us to do seems impossible. So let’s go from here with courage, trusting in God’s presence and power, and eager to do God’s will. And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you now and forever more. Amen

 

Sunday 2nd August 2020

 

Readings - Psalm 145.8-9,14-21; Matthew 14.13-21

Call to Worship: Friends, we gather this day to celebrate life – the life we have been given by God, the life we share with one another in community, the life that Jesus gives in abundance. Let us be grateful for the joy of life. Let us worship God. Amen.

 

MP929

1 Sing to the Lord a joyful song,

 lift up your hearts, your voices raise;

 to us his gracious gifts belong

to him our songs of love and praise.

 

2 For life and love, for rest and food,

for daily help and nightly care,

sing to the Lord, for he is good,

and praise his name, for it is fair.

 

3 For strength to those who on him wait

his truth to prove, his will to do,

sing to our God, for he is great,

trust in his name, for it is true.

 

4 For joys untold, that from above

cheer those who love his sweet employ,

sing to our God, for he is love;

exalt his name, for it is joy.

 

5 Sing to the Lord of heaven and earth,

 whom angels serve and saints adore,

the Father, Son, and Spirit blest,

to whom be praise for evermore. Amen.

 

Prayer and Lord’s Prayer.

Gracious God and Father, we gather to worship you, to celebrate your faithfulness and the richness of your promise to us. We come as your people, in response to your call. You have invited us to be here, to share your blessing and the abundance of your grace. We bring all that we are, all that the past has made us and all that the future promises us. In this time together, help us to be present to you as you are present to us. Give us time and space to remember and to reflect, to rejoice and to be renewed in the service of Jesus Christ our Lord, Extravagant God, you offer us so much, and yet often we treat your gifts selfishly or lightly. Forgive us when we chase after worthless trivia or do not value the riches of your gospel. Forgive us when we cling tightly to what we have and do not share it with others. Forgive us when we are anxious and afraid, and do not trust you to meet our needs. Faithful God, forgive us. Help us to value what you offer, to share it freely with others, and to live in joyful risk for your kingdom. Lord God of compassion and boundless blessings, we are full of amazement that you care so greatly for the needs of your people. We worship and adore you for your generosity, your love, and your power. Lord’s Prayer.

 

MP201 Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

1 Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim thro' this barren land;

I am weak, but Thou art mighty,

Hold me with Thy powerful hand 

Bread of heaven,

Feed me till I want no more;

Bread of heaven,

Feed me till I want no more.

 

2 Open thou the crystal fountain,

Whence the healing waters flow;

Let the fiery, cloudy pillar,

Lead me all my journey thro';

Strong Deliv'rer,

Be Thou still my Strength and Shield,

Strong Deliv'rer,

Be Thou still my Strength and Shield

 

3 When I tread the verge of Jordan,

Bid my anxious fears subside;

death of death, and Hell’s destruction,

Land me safe on Canaan's side:

Songs of praises

I will ever give to Thee,

Songs of praises

 I will ever give to Thee.

 

All Age

     Did you know Jesus can, if we ask him through faith, help us to grow in many ways? The parable today tells us just one of the ways he showed the disciples and the people who had gathered how he could do just that.

     Today I have a loaf of bread. It is already cut into slices for me at the bakery. but when it is first made it is a whole loaf and if you want, it can just be broken into smaller pieces to be handed out just like we do at communion.

     Today’s message from the Gospel of Matthew tells us of the time when Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus was sad his friends had told him that King Herod had killed his friend John the Baptist. He was pretty upset when his friends came to tell him that John the Baptist had been killed by King Herod.  Jesus wanted to just go away to a quiet place and grieve for his loss, but the crowds had come to hear and be healed by him. It was hard for him to get some time to himself.

     It was getting dark, so his disciples came to him and asked him to send the people back home because they wouldn’t have enough food to feed them if they spent the night there. Then Jesus gave the disciples a challenge. He said, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.”. The disciples must have been wondering how they were going to do that with five loaves of bread and two fishes.

     Jesus sometimes tells us to do impossible things so that we will rely on Him to help us. What happened next?  He told them to bring what they had to Him so he could ask God to bless it. Jesus always said the blessing before he ate. Do you say a blessing or grace as we know it before you eat? When we thank God before a meal, we are remembering how he is our provider for life itself.

     The disciples would never have been able to do it on their own but they turned to Jesus and asked him to help, Jesus took what they gave in faith and multiplied it many times. It was an amazing miracle. He, through faith, fed five thousand men besides women and children. In fact, they had twelve baskets full of leftovers!  Just think how God could help us when we turn to him in faith and prayer. Amen.

 

 

MP825 Faithful One So Unchanging.

 Faithful one, so unchanging,

ageless one, your my rock of peace

 Lord of all I depend on you

I call out to you, again and again

 I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble

 You lift me up when I fall down

All through the storm Your love is, the anchor

My hope is in You alone

Psalm 145 8 - 9 14-21

Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.  The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfils the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.  My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.  Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

 

Prayers of Intercession:

Lord, today, we pray for people who have little or nothing: for those who feel trapped in their situation, and can’t see the bigger picture or even any tiny glimmer of light. We pray for people who are hungry: for parents who struggle to feed their children, and themselves. We thank you for the work of food banks and pray that they would have the resources to continue to meet so many needs. We pray that you would give us an appreciation of our food: the work that goes into producing and distributing it. Teach us not to be wasteful, but to preserve and pass on the goodness of your earth. Father God, help us be reliable and honest in what we do and friendly to all we meet in our daily lives. Help us always to give our best, to work to our fullest and never be ashamed to confess your name.  In our leisure time, help us to play hard, but to play fair.  Help us to win without boasting and to lose graciously without making excuses. Gracious God, we pray for the ill, the lonely and distressed, especially those tormented by mental illness. We pray for healing and wholeness in their lives and we pray for ourselves.  Help us to bring life and love, joy and hope to those who live in despair.  Amen.

 

MP485 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

forgive our foolish ways!

Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,

in purer lives thy service find,

in deeper reverence, praise;

in deeper reverence, praise.


In simple trust like theirs who heard,

beside the Syrian sea,

the gracious calling of the Lord,

let us, like them, without a word,

rise up and follow thee;

rise up and follow thee.

 

O Sabbath rest by Galilee.

O calm of hills above,

where Jesus knelt to share with thee

the silence of eternity

interpreted by love!

interpreted by love!


Drop thy still dews of quietness,

till all our strivings cease;

take from our souls the strain and stress,

and let our ordered lives

confess the beauty of thy peace;

the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire

thy coolness and thy balm;

let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

speak through the earthquake,

wind, and fire,

O still, small voice of calm;

O still, small voice of calm.

 

Mathew 14 - 13-21: Now when Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said to them, "They need not go away. You give them something to eat." They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Sermon  analogy for the word Generous

Generous

Giver of
Everlasting love,
Near to us, though
Eternity cannot hold you;
Receive us by your grace
Our heavenly Father –
Under the protection of your love is where we long to
Stay.


     A young boy travelling by aeroplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who was a professor of theology. The boy was reading a Sunday school booklet he had been given and the professor thought he would have some fun with the lad. “Young man,” said the professor, “if you can tell me something God can do, I will give you a big, shiny apple.” The boy thought for a moment and then replied, “Mister, if you can tell me something God can’t do, I’ll give you a whole barrel of apples!”
     We are bombarded on a daily basis by the events happening in the world -  images which tear at our hearts, so many people starving either through war or drought. The news sometimes is so depressing, but it also makes us very aware of the need that is out there, not just abroad but here at home also. We must help where and when we can, if not financially, then it is important for us to pray and ask God for support for us so we may have the necessary words for prayer to help all who are in need. 

     For us, it is worth remembering the parable of the Jesus feeding the 5000 in the passage we have just read, especially in the cynical world around us. The disciples, like ourselves, could see the needs of the people around them and naturally turned to Jesus and told him that the people who had gathered were getting hungry and that they were worried and concerned about them. They suggested to Jesus that he should send them away to the surrounding villages to buy food for themselves. It was just a useful and sensible way to go about the problem of the hungry people just as we should turn to Jesus with our worries and cares. Jesus did not tell them off for suggesting what he should do. Instead he told the disciples that they should cater for the crowd. Can you just imagine the chaos that was running through their heads at what Jesus told them to do?

     Just like the church, sometimes we are so inundated with the cares of the world that we also find it difficult to discern the ways and means to help out others who are hungry and in need of our help.  The chaos that ensues is when we have to seriously pray for guidance, but, like the disciples, we cannot sit back and dko nothing. We have a responsibility as Christians to use what we have responsibly for all around us. When we trust in Jesus and ask for the blessings, we will find the resources that are needed. As in the song ‘Love is something if you give it away it ends being more’ as did the disciples find. When they broke the bread after it had been blessed there was more than was needed - enough for everyone and themselves with 12 baskets left over. By trusting in Jesus and having faith we will receive enough and more with some left over.  The disciples, by acting in faith, found that they not only had enough but they had an abundance for themselves. "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
     There is no doubt that the needs of the world are overwhelming. It is very normal for one congregation to feel at a loss and feel that they will not be able to make a big difference. Yet, in faith, a congregation can answer to the need in trust that when they are joined by Christians all across the world, there will be ample with baskets left over. When the disciples gave what they had to Jesus, and Jesus blessed it and returned it to the disciples they had to decide what to do with it. When they did give what they had in response to the hunger of the crowd (or the world), not only did they have enough but there was extra left over.

     By doing all this, it not only blesses the needy but Christ feeds the church is also blessed. We have the Good News of God’s blessings. Can we encourage others to come and be blessed with the same Good News? Perhaps the world will then fully know God’s love and compassion.

     It was mealtime during a trip on a small airline. The flight attendant came to one passenger and asked, "Would you like dinner?" The passenger responded, "What are my choices?" The flight attendant responded, "Yes or no." Decisions are part of everyday life but they are not always so cut and dried or simple; there is a need to wrestle with them. In each case, however, the choice boils down to a basic question, "Do you choose God or the world?"  Amen.

MP1008 The Lord’s My Shepherd.

The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want;

He makes me lie in pastures green.

He leads me by the still, still waters,

His goodness restores my soul.

 

Chorus: And I will trust in You alone

And I will trust in You alone,

For Your endless mercy follows me,

Your goodness will lead me home. 


He guides my ways in righteousness,

And He anoints my head with oil,

And my cup, it overflows with joy,

I feast on His pure delights.  

 

 Chorus


And though I walk the darkest path,

I will not fear the evil one,

For You are with me,

and Your rod and staff

Are the comfort I need to know.

Chorus

Benediction:

Go out into the world rejoicing in God’s generous love; and may you be fed by the living God who makes, feeds and sustains the world. And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost be among you and remain with you now and evermore. Amen

 

Sunday 26th July 2020

Call to Worship

God, your kingdom is... among us all in surprising places, hidden in the everyday, small but precious, above us and below us. Your kingdom is here and we gather as part of it to worship and adore you, The Kingdom of God is within us all.  Found in the most surprising of places. Hidden in the everyday things of life. Small but very precious. Here and now. Let us worship God who reigns over the Kingdom.   Amen.

MP 249 How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him

Verse 1 How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him 

who brings good news, good news proclaiming peace,

announcing news of happiness,

our God reigns, our God reigns!

Chorus Our God reigns, our God reigns,

our God reigns, our God reigns!

 

Verse 2 You watchmen lift your voices joyfully as one,

shout for your King, your King.

See eye to eye the Lord restoring Zion:

your God reigns, your God reigns!

Chorus Your God reigns, your God reigns,

Your God reigns, your God reigns!

 

Verse 3 Waste places of Jerusalem break forth with joy,

we are redeemed, redeemed.

The Lord has saved and comforted His people:

your God reigns, your God reigns!

Chorus Your God reigns, your God reigns,

your God reigns, your God reigns!

 

Verse 4 Ends of the earth, see the salvation of your God,

Jesus is Lord, is Lord.

Before the nations He has bared His holy arm: 

Your God reigns, your God reigns!

Chorus Your God reigns, your God reigns,

your God reigns, your God reigns!

 

Prayer and Lord’s prayer

Lord God, as we gather in your house, we thank you for your presence, here with us.
Thank you, Lord, that each one of us is unique, yet we share a common bond in you.
We come together as one body, but we all learn and experience things in different ways. We thank you for your amazing word that gives us so many pictures of your kingdom. Something for everyone, something to feed our hearts and minds. Be with us, Lord, and bless us richly as we call upon your name. O God, mere words cannot convey what a privilege it is to be heirs to your kingdom. As we explore your word today, help us to learn about new treasures as well as old. May we see the amazing things you can do in our lives. We are part of your kingdom, and we come to you in awe and wonder.  Lord God, sometimes I feel so set in my ways. I’m not always ready to give something up to gain the thing of value that you promise. I want to keep my treasures locked up in a storeroom, safe from prying eyes. Sometimes I just expect things on a plate. I’m not always ready to work for something that you call me to do. Sometimes I take my eyes off you and feel so lost. Bring me back, please, Lord. Forgive me, Lord, as I open my heart to you. Marvellous and mighty Lord,
we are forever grateful for all the good gifts you give us, for eyes to see, for ears to hear, for a brain to understand and a heart to love. We praise you, Lord.  Amen.

MP 454 Majesty, worship his majesty

Verse 1 Majesty, worship His majesty;

unto Jesus, be glory, honour and praise.

Majesty, kingdom authority flows from His throne

unto His own, His anthem raise.

So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus,

magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King.

Majesty, worship His majesty,

Jesus who died, now glorified,

King of all kings.

                                           

Verse 2  Majesty, worship His majesty; 

unto Jesus, be glory, honour and praise.

Majesty, kingdom authority flows from His throne,

unto His own, His anthem raise.

 

Chorus So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King 
Majesty, worship His majesty. Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.

All age worship.

I want you to imagine that when you came into church this morning, you were asked to leave your personal belongings at the back of the church.  Are you worried? Do you feel anxious? Do you feel that you are at a loss without them? My concern is, did I remember to switch my mobile phone off? Just so that I did not disturb anyone throughout the service. I know when I am out and about I really like to have my phone with me, as do most young people, not that I am saying I am young not at all. But I do feel something is not right if I don’t have it with me. Quite silly really because we never used to carry a phone around. And never ever felt that something was missing.  What does this worry about a phone say about me? Is it just a possession or is it more than that? Something else to think about. Just imagine that you have been told to leave your homes overnight due to an emergency.  You can take only four personal items with you. What would you choose to take? What would you think was so precious that you could not possibly leave it in the house? Worth thinking about I will make this your homework to follow up on later. I will not ask questions but please think about it. Today we reflect on where our treasure is – do we put our faith in earthly things or in things that are eternal?

Let’s pray. O God, you are the seed planter, fish netter, bread baker and pearl hunter. Make us into living parables, that we may become stewards of the world you have entrusted to our care. Thank you Lord, for giving us so many wonderful gifts and for calling us to share in your kingdom.
Make us faithful stewards of what we have, giving to others a share in what you have given to us. .

MP 32 An army of ordinary people

 

1 An army of ordinary people, a kingdom where love Is the key

a city, a light to the nations, heirs to the promise are we.   

A people whose life is in Jesus, a nation together we stand; 

only through grace are we worthy inheritors of the land.

 

A new day is dawning, a new age to come,

when the children of promise shall flow together as one:

a truth long neglected, but the time has now come,

when the children of promise shall flow together as one.

 

Readings 1 Kings 3:5-12

5At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 6Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7"Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 10The LORD was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

Prayers of intercession.

Loving God, you have come among us this day. Reign in us, and mould us, forgive us and heal us, bless us and enlighten us, that we may be renewed by your grace now and always.  We pray for all Christian people that they may hold their faith dear and continue to love according to the Gospel. We pray for all people, everywhere, that they may open their hearts and mind to the good news of the Gospel. We pray for the leaders of the nations as they work for progress and prosperity, that they may not lose sight of the poor and their needs. We pray for the sick and for those in need that in their suffering they might find care and compassion from those around them Loving God, we thank you that in your Son Jesus we have found the treasure which makes our life worthwhile. Keep us in your love and care, now and always, and bring us at last to the joys of heaven. Amen.

MP987 Here is love, vast as the ocean

Verse 1 Here is love, vast as the ocean, loving-kindness as the flood,

when the Prince of life, our ransom, shed for us His precious blood.

Who His love will not remember; who can cease to sing His praise?

He can never be forgotten throughout heaven's eternal days.

 

2 On the mount of crucifixion fountains opened deep and wide;

through the floodgates of God's mercy flowed a vast and gracious tide.

Grace and love, like mighty rivers, poured incessant from above;

and heaven's peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.

 

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 

31He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’33He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’  ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

Sermon

A minister died and was waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him was a guy who was dressed in sunglasses, a fancy bright shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addressed this guy, "Who are you, so that I know whether or not to admit you to the kingdom of heaven?" The guy replied, "I'm Joe Wilson, taxi driver in Edinburgh." Saint Peter consulted his list. He smiled and said to the taxi driver, "Take this silk robe and gold staff and enter the kingdom of heaven." The taxi driver went into heaven with his silk robe and his gold staff, now it was the minister's turn. He stood tall and shouted, "I am James Young Minister of Saint John’s for the last 43 years." Saint Peter consulted his list. He said to the minister, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the kingdom of heaven."
"Just a minute," said the minister. "That man was a taxi driver and he gets a silk robe and gold staff. I get cotton and wood? How can that be?" "Up here, we work by results," said Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed."

Please stay awake for the next few minutes! In the last few weeks we have been listening to the parables in Mathews gospel depending on how well you have listened is how much these parables can make a change in your hearts, they tell us about the Kingdom of God and how we should live our lives as the children of God. In Matthew’s gospel, there is great importance set on hearing the Word of the Lord. When we listen to the parables we need to pay attention and let the words penetrate into our very being where they will prod us into doing the right thing which in turn will be seen by others and they will see us as we ought to be seen living the Christian life. They are as important today as they were 2000 years ago. we need to remember that Jesus is with us at all times, in a true and living faith.  The parables we read today are all shortish and in twos. As both the mustard seed and the dough start off small they grow quite large.  Very like what the kingdom would be like. Very humble to begin with but growing all the time with the immeasurable Love of God. And the life of the Messiah certainly started very humbly, but what an impact when it was finally realised who the baby Jesus had become. As with the found treasure.  Not a lot of detail except that when it was found it delivered great joy to the finders and knowing it was worth the hard work previously done to have the reward of the treasure. Similarly with the finding of the perfect pearl, so cunningly held in the depths of the sea, but if the work of the diver is thorough, then the reward is tremendous and so precious is the worth of that pearl or more to the point the Recognition of the true worth being the kingdom of heaven. The last two parables tell us of the angels who will separate the righteous from the evil, throwing the evil into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. We today do not like to talk of God’s judgement in case we frighten someone off the church life. But we still know that the weeds have to be weeded out. It’s a part of living. And Jesus told the truth when necessary. But he also gave more insight into the life of joy, and plenty, and treasures in heaven if you only but listened. The disciples were asked do you understand?  Do we understand what is required of us? We must be like the mustard seed and grow and enfold each one of us in the love of Jesus Christ and whoever has ears to hear let us be the ones to spread God’s love so they may also find the hidden treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Amen

 

 

 

 

MP 379 Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun doth his successive journeys run;

His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more.

 

2 To Him shall endless prayer be made, and princes throng to crown His head;

His name, like sweet perfume, shall rise with every morning sacrifice.

 

3 People and realms of every tongue dwell on His love with sweetest song;

and infant voices shall proclaim their early blessings on His name.

 

4 Blessings abound where'er He reigns; the prisoner leaps to lose his chains,

the weary find eternal rest, and all the sons of want are blest.

 

5 Let every creature rise and bring the highest honours to our King;

angels descend with songs again, and earth repeat the loud ‘Amen’.

 

Benediction

May the joy of the kingdom go with you. May the peace of the kingdom sustain you, and may you know the king of the kingdom, Jesus Christ, to be your friend and Saviour as you journey through this week.     Amen.

Sunday 19th July 2020

Call to worship

Generous God, as we meet in your name, teach us your ways that we may walk in your truth. Open our minds that we may discern your truth. Inspire our words that we may proclaim your truth. Transform our lives that we may live your truth.

MP 50 Be still for the glory of the Lord

Verse 1 Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here; come bow before Him now with reverence and fear: in Him no sin is found - we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Verse 2 Be still for the glory of the Lord, Is shining all around: He burns with holy fire, with splendour He is crowned: How awesome is the sight - our radiant King of light!
Be still for the glory of the Lord, Is shining all around.

Verse 3 Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place: He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace - no work too hard for Him. In faith receive from Him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord Is moving in this place.

Prayer and Lord’s Prayer.

We come to you, gracious God, acknowledging that our life is filled with both wheat and weeds. Be gentle with us, and help us to help one another as we journey together, that your kingdom may come and your will may be done, here in this place, in our communities and in our lives, now and always. Shine on us, Lord, as the sun shines on wheat in a field. Gladden our hearts with the good news of your love, patience and kindness. Increase in us an appreciation of all that you are as we listen to your word, sing your praise and pray for one another and our world.

Dear God, the giver of all good gifts: your seeds of friendship, kindness and faith we will sow, your plants of trust, hope and understanding we will grow, that all people will know, your love and forgiveness. Gracious God, the giver of all good gifts, when you sow good seeds in our hearts and we turn them to weeds: forgive us. When we pull up the good ideas of others and rob them of their confidence to sow more seeds: forgive us. When we judge others too quickly and put them in boxes that limit them and us: forgive us. When we can’t tell the difference between good and bad in our own ambitions and habits, or allow the boundaries to be blurred: forgive us, and grant us discernment, humility and grace.  Lord’s Prayer.

Good morning! I have a question for you: What kind of surprises do you think people usually like? (an unexpected gift, maybe a party for them, good news about a friend) what kind of surprises do you think people don't like too much? Taking a test you didn't know about, thinking you did well on an exam and then finding out that you didn't do well on it or maybe like all the holidays we have had to cancel this year.  I was asking those questions because I wanted us to think about how there are all sorts of surprises in life, surprises that are both exciting and unwanted.  In today's scripture story, Jesus tells the crowds another parable with surprises in it. In the story that Jesus tells, there was a field of grain that some workers had planted. However, it turned out that while the grain grew, so did many weeds, – way more than usual. The weeds were unwanted for – that’s for sure! The workers planned to remove the weeds but were not very sure if they should as it would disturb the actual crop but before they acted on their plan, they went to their boss for advice on what they should do. But their boss advised them not to pull up the weeds as it was a certainty that they would also pull up the wheat not just the weeds. He told them just to let them grow with the wheat together.  One of the reasons we hear today’s story, I think, is to remind us to ask for God's help when we have had to stop and go down another road something we were not expecting to do. And, just like the workers, we too can adjust our plans as we invite God into what we are experiencing and the plans that we have to adjust to. As we do that, we invite God into our feelings about changes in our lives.  When we give this to God we can plan for the changes with God at the heart of our lives and react in a way that does less harm and more good for ourselves and for those around us.

Let’s pray. Dear God, Thank you that you are with us and willing to help us at all times in our lives.   Amen

MP1003 My Jesus my Savour

Verse 1 My Jesus, my Saviour, Lord, there is none like You. All of my days, I want to praise The wonders of your mighty love. My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength, let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You.

Chorus Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing.  Power and majesty, praise to the King. Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name. I sing for joy at the work of Your hands, For ever I'll love You, for ever I'll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.  Repeat verse and Chorus.

Reading Isaiah Ch. 44  Vs. 6- 8

"This is what the LORD says- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. 7Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come- yes, let them foretell what will come. 8Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."

MP 882 Lord of all hopefulness.

Verse 1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy, Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Verse 2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe, be there at our labours, and give us, we pray, Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Verse 3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace, be there at our homing, and give us, we pray, Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Verse 4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray, your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Prayers of intercession

We pray for those who long for peace, in their hearts, homes, communities, nations.
Lord, root out violence and strengthen those who are afraid.  We pray for our churches locally and worldwide, especially where there is division. Lord, root out all that divides us and inspire appreciation of our differences. We pray for those living with inner tensions, those tempted to misuse their power or needs. Lord, root out corruption and abuse and protect those who are vulnerable. We pray for those who are struggling with illness, those who are coping with loss. Lord, root out all that drains hope and breaks spirits. We pray for those who look to destroy the lives and welfare of others. Lord, root out all misguided motives and extremism. We pray for the time when we will all be brought safely under your roof. Lord, root out all within us that hinders our journey. We thank you, Lord, for the power of stories that challenge us and help us understand new truths, giving us new insights into your love for all creation. Help us to celebrate that love and to tell others, that we might all be brought together into the barn of your everlasting kingdom and rejoice.

Reading Mathew 13 24-30, 36-43

In many situations, we would like to do what the farm hands in this story are ready to do: pull up the weeds, get rid of the bad and do right now. But that is not how Jesus tells the parable. The farmer does not permit them to do this. Maybe we need to look at our actions and thoughts like the farmer and look deeply into the story. Let’s look at the weeds first. Some gardeners will be wondering at the farmer’s answer to wait and let the weeds grow with the grain. This is surely no way to run a farm. But the weeds that have grown up in the wheat field are really grass that looks very much like wheat. Choosing one from another in the early stages of growing is just about   impossible. While the plants ripen the roots of weeds and wheat join and become almost inseparable. Yet they must be removed at some stage. If not the flour made from the wheat will be ruined by the weeds, as it is a bit poisonous. The way forward is to harvest the plants, and by then the weeds or grasses are a different colour and can be separated therefore that is the proper time. This brings us to something the landowner says. “Let both of them grow together until the harvest.” This may make sense to us in the context of growing wheat in a field where there are weeds. Where it bothers us is when it is in the context in our world, where we want to get rid of the bad, or at least expect God to do so. Just who are the weeds in the wheat field of the world? These are the plants we want to yank out by the roots. How often have we heard this?  “They should just lock them up and throw away the key.”  There are times when we see this as the obvious answer. We want the wheat field of the world to flourish with the good grain and not be spoiled by the weeds. There are often questions asked such as why doesn’t God do something about these people? Or where was God when they committed their terrible crimes? The parable does not deny that there are weeds in the wheat we know that there is not freedom from evil. The weeds are obvious around the world. The landowner knows what’s happened — “An enemy has done this!” (v. 28). Yes, the world is a terribly broken place.  We know that we would like the world to be as one with God at the helm. But the farmer says “Let both grow together until the harvest.” This is hard to understand. And it looks like the farmer is resigned to letting his field of healthy grain be a field in which the weeds will just have to grow although he does not like to see it like this.

The second part is about the farmer saying the word Let, as in “Let both grow together until the harvest.” The meaning of let, is allowing or permitting. Another way of looking at the word is to “pardon” or “forgive.” “Let both grow together until the harvest” carries in the original language a sense of forgiveness toward the malicious enemy. If so, we must believe we have not the right to judge what that others do. And two wrongs do not make a right.  Attacking and destroying the people is irresponsible. Doing so only adds to the harm. Instead, our response is to be forgiveness, and a willingness to trust in the purposes of God.  You and I, well, I am sure sometimes we are wheat and sometimes we are weeds. St. Augustine, makes the same point when he says: “There is this difference between people and real grain and real weeds, for what was grain in the field is grain and what were weeds are weeds. But in the Lord’s field, which is the church, at times what was grain turns into weeds and at times what were weeds turn into grain and no one knows what they will be tomorrow. God gives us all choices, to do right, or to do wrong. The most convincing entry in this record is the story of Jesus. Risen from the dead, he forgives the disciples who let him down, and sends them out spreading his forgiveness to anybody who needs it, which is to say everybody. It is clear from this parable, clearer still from the cross, that forgiveness and forbearance are God’s way of working with a broken world. Now indeed the harvest happens, an abundance of wheat is gathered in, enough to make landowner and farm hands rejoice together. The weeds in the field were a way of preventing this true harvest. The seed was good, and it bore, through adversity, a fruitful harvest. And so the parable ends on a note of brilliant triumph about that harvest: “the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (v. 43). Evil is real, but it is not ultimate. It never has the last word. Amen

MP 631 Tell out my soul

Verse 1 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!  Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice; to me the promise of his word; In God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.

Verse 2 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His name!  Make known His might, the deeds His arm has done; His mercy sure, from age to age the same; His holy Name, the Lord, the Mighty One.

Verse 3 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might!  Powers and dominions lay their glory by. Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight, the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Verse 4 Tell out, my soul, the glories of His word!  Firm is His promise, and His mercy sure. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord to children's children and for evermore!

 

Benediction

May all that you do and say tell out the story of God’s love for his world.
And may you all here and in the community be blessed moment by moment and day by day.
Amen.

 

Sunday 12th July 2020

Psalm 65. (1-8),9-13; Matthew 13.1-9,18-23

Call to worship

The Lord sows his seed among us, but do we let it root and grow? The Lord provides us with all we need, but what is the harvest? As we hear Christ’s message: let us welcome it with joy, that it may take root within us and yield a rich and plentiful harvest.

MP 784 Ye Servants of God your Master Proclaim. 

1 Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim, and publish abroad his wonderful name; 

the name all-victorious of Jesus extol; 

his kingdom is glorious and rules over all. 

 

2 God rules in the height, almighty to save; 

though hid from our sight, his presence we have; 

the great congregation his triumph shall sing, 

ascribing salvation to Jesus our King. 

 

3 "Salvation to God, who sits on the throne!" 

let all cry aloud, and honour the Son;

the praises of Jesus the angels proclaim, 

fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.  

 

4 Then let us adore and give him his right:

all glory and power, all wisdom and might,

all honour and blessing with angels above

and thanks never ceasing for infinite love.

 

Let’s come together in Prayer.

The word of God is living and active. As God speaks his word to us today may we open our hearts to his message and the promise of life that it brings. God our creator, touch our faithfulness that God’s message may not wither in us. Holy Spirit, our sustainer make us receptive to God’s word and to the message of life it brings.  We hear the Word of God but we do not always live our lives in harmony with it. God our Creator, touch our hearts and minds that we may live as you intended. Jesus our Life-giver, give us depth and faithfulness that God’s message may be present in us. God, in your great goodness, speak to us your word of forgiveness and lead us into new and fruitful life with you. Let us praise God when the sun shines and the rain falls, let us praise God when life is full of joy and happiness, and in times of despair and sadness when the world seems a troubled place, and when signs of the kingdom break through: Let us praise God at the start of life through to its conclusion, as one generation gives way to another: Praise be to you for your constancy, from the dawn of creation to the end of time.    Amen

Lord’s Prayer

All ages talk

Have you ever lived on a farm? No? Have you ever planted a garden? Some of you may have planted a garden or watched your parents or grandparents plant a garden. There is a lot of work involved in the planting and caring for a garden. What are some of the things you will need to plant a garden? You'll need a spade to break up the ground and a rake to remove the rocks and keep the soil smooth. You need a hoe to get rid of the weeds that might try to take over your garden. You will probably need some fertilizer and, unless it rains a lot, you will need a hose to water your garden. Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing that you will need. Can you guess what it is? The seed! You can't have a garden without seeds. Now we have everything we need to produce a great crop of fruits and vegetables. Jesus liked to tell stories to help people understand his teaching. One day he told a story about a farmer who planted some seeds. As he scattered the seed in his field, some of them fell on the footpath and the birds ate them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground. The seeds sprouted, but they wilted and died under the hot sun because they didn't have deep roots. Some of the seeds fell in areas where there were a lot of weeds and the weeds choked out the young plants. Ah, but some of the seed fell on good, fertile soil and that seed grew and produced a wonderful crop. Do you think Jesus was really trying to teach people how to plant a garden? No. The story has a much deeper meaning. In Jesus' story, the seed represents the word of God and the soil represents the people who hear the word. Many times people hear the word of God, but they don't understand it. They don't take it in. That is like the seed on the footpath. The evil one comes and takes away the seed that has been planted in their heart before it has the opportunity to grow in their life. The seed that fell on rocky soil represents those who hear the word and receive it with great joy, but when the newness wears off and the excitement fades, they drift away because they don't have deep roots. The seed that fell among the weeds represents people who hear God's word and believe what it says, but soon the message is crowded out by the worries of life and the desire to get more stuff. If seed is planted in a bunch of weeds, the weeds will soon take over!  A person who hears God's word and tries to understand what it says and put it into practice in their daily life is like good soil. In good soil the seed takes root and grows and produces a plentiful harvest. That is the kind of soil that Jesus wants us to be. What kind of soil are you?  

Dear Jesus, we want to be like the good soil. Help us to listen to God's word and put it into practice in our daily life. Amen.

MP 23 All things bright and beautiful.

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.

 

1 Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

He made their glowing colours,

He made their tiny wings. Chorus

 

2 The purple-headed mountain,

The river running by,

The sunset and the morning,

That brightens up the sky. Chorus

 

3 The cold wind in the winter,

The pleasant summer sun,

The ripe fruits in the garden,

He made them every one. Chorus

 

4 He gave us eyes to see them, 

And lips that we might tell

how great is God Almighty,

who has made all things well. Chorus

 

Reading Psalm 65 1 – 8

MP 732 We Plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land.

 

We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land,

but it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand;

He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,

the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain. 

All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;

then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord

for all his love.

 

2 He only is the Maker of all things near and far; 

he paints the wayside flower, he lights the evening star;

the wind and waves obey him, by him the birds are fed;

much more to us, his children, he gives our daily bread.  Chorus 

 

3 We thank you, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,

the seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food.

Accept the gifts we to offer for all your love imparts;

we come now Lord to give you our humble, thankful hearts. Chorus

 

Reading Psalm 65 9 – 13

Intercession Prayer

Let us pray to God that we may welcome his word and respond to his call. We pray for those who spread the Word of God in our world, for church leaders, and teachers, that they may sow the good news with energy and joy. We pray for all communities, and especially for the people of God that we may not let the cares of the world choke the Word of God in us. We pray for those who have not yet seen and understood the Word of God, that they may be enlightened and recognise God’s power in their lives. We pray for those who have remained deaf to the Word of God, that they may begin to hear and comprehend the Word of Life in all its fullness. We pray for the sick, the sad and the suffering, for doctors, nurses and for all who work for healing, that God’s strength and power may be with them. Lord may your Word not return to you empty and may our prayers be heard by you in heaven. This we ask through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.    

MP   496 O for a thousand tongues to sing.

1 O for a thousand tongues to sing

my great Redeemer's praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of his grace!

 

2 Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

That bids our sorrows cease;

'tis music in the sinner's ears, 

'tis life and health and peace.

 

3 He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

He sets the prisoner free;

His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.

 

4 He speaks, and listening to his voice,

new life the dead receive,
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,

the humble poor believe.

 

5 Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,

your loosened tongues employ:

ye blind, behold your Saviour come;

and leap, ye lame, for joy.

 

6 My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,

To spread through all the earth abroad,

The honours of your name

 

Sermon  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

I am sure you are all like me and love a good story, and they are often recalled quite easily, and enjoyed each time we remember the particular story we liked best. Jesus was an amazing storyteller, and knew the best way to making the people of his time know the ways that were expected of them the truth of the ways is through a story. Therefore, he told stories to explain to them what he was thinking.
Today's gospel parable of the sower is one of the best known parables told by Jesus. So it is strange that the second half of today's reading Jesus gave such a deep explanation of the meaning of the parable.  Usually he mostly left people to make their own connections, to draw their own truths from his words. But this time  he made it very simple for them.
No doubt that through all our years in church past to present you will all  have heard this story and numerous sermons on it!  So can we still learn anything more from the parable? Can we look at it in some other way? We know the seed had to be hand sown, scattering it from side to side so that the seed fell as evenly as possible. But should the sower not have been a bit more careful. Do we even know who the sower was?  I have always thought it was God or Jesus himself. Now though, we, the Christian church, are the sowers? How do we sow the seed, with God’s word, do we do any sowing of seeds? How hard do we sow the seed, so that people can really hear it? And for it to be relevant for them today. Do we know how good our soil is?  What do we do to keep the soil fresh and full of the nutrients needed to make sure the soil is full of goodness? Maybe the sower should have little more time over what was needed for the soil, more seed would have taken root. Should the parable be just pointed at individuals or should it be taken on board for churches and communities as well. I wonder if there are churches like the stony ground working hard to sow the seed and there's fast and vigorous uptake. But after a while it backs off. There's no depth to their teaching. They do not stay the course when times are hard. There is a leaning towards the good bits of the bible, forgetting that there are times when the hard learning has to be taken on board as that is when we really know the love of God beside us.  And yes God is with us in the good bits too, but what is simple teaching does not last any length of time and there is not enough to keep satisfying anyone in faith for very long. Many have a skilful and keen answer to mission, but not enough within to help the seed grow, and the plant as it grows for a short while but dies as there is not enough moisture from within to stop it from drying out and withering. Then there are those who sprinkle a little seed on the path, and do not see the opportunities they have missed out on. They say things like: our church is alright, we like the way things are, or it’s Aye been. We have asked people to our services, but in today’s world it appears that they don’t want to come. And we have not always followed up on the invites, this is a church where the seed is walked on. They do not want to change their comfortable way of worshipping.  The seeds are just eaten by the birds.
What about the churches where the seed falls among thorns, which grow with it and choke it?  The direct opposite of those who sprinkle seed on the path. They are very too concerned with being part of the real world. They tend to bend over backwards to be of the world. Their teaching is not clear or distinct. God, is very seldom spoken of, so as not to upset or put off some people.  The edges are almost non- existent, no-one is sure, or even whether they exist at all. It offers very little to identify Christianity from the rest of life where anything goes.
And what about the churches which provide good soil, good solid feeding of the word. There are bits of the other churches in them as a whole. They open the doors for all who are willing, to hear the word.  To be encouraging to bring them a maturing faith. A faith which isn't afraid of the difficult questions, and to lead them to the true life of living in God. They are willing and ready to change to assist with the needs of the people but they will not give up on the true Christian way as it is a solid necessity for the seed to grow.

This type of church does not stop anyone from being within its walls and there will be the thorns within. But they will not let the thorns choke the seeds but let them grow alongside. It is known that Christians must be part of the world. Not taken out from it. But it is also known that the Christian life of the church will not be watered down to the way of the world standards.  And are not afraid to recognise and tell people about the place God has in their lives.  What sort of soil does our church offer?  How we should upkeep the richness of our soil? How can we nurture the seedlings?  What sort of sowers are we?  The parable of the sower is a story.  It's a story which has a beginning and a middle. But it's up to us to decide how that story should continue. It's up to us to determine the next chapter. So I want to leave you with a question. Where do we go from here? Amen.

 

MP 743 We’ll walk the Land with hearts on fire.

 

1 We'll walk the land With hearts on fire;

and every step will be a prayer.

Hope is rising New day dawning;

sound of singing fills the air.  

 

2 Two thousand years, and still the flame

Is burning bright across the land.

Hearts are waiting longing, aching,

for awakening once again.

Let the flame burn brighter

in the heart of the darkness,

Turning night to glorious day.

Let the song grow louder,

as our love grows stronger;

Let it shine! let it shine!

 

3 We'll walk for truth Speak out for love;
In Jesus' name We shall be strong,

to lift the fallen, to save the children,

to fill the nation with Your song.  Chorus


Benediction

 

May God’s living be sown within your soul. May his life fill you with goodness and his love bear fruit in you and those you meet. And may you know fulfilment of the life-giving Christ today and always.   Amen

Sunday 5th July 2020

Call to worship.

Jesus says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Let us come to the Lord Jesus. Let us seek his rest. Amen.

MP 7 All Creatures of our God and King

1 All creatures of our God and King,

lift up your voices, let us sing:

Alleluia, alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

thou silver moon that gently gleams,

O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

2 Thou rushing wind that art so strong,

ye clouds that sail in heaven along,

O praise him, Alleluia! Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,

ye lights of evening, find a voice:

O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

3. Thou flowing water, pure and clear,

make music for thy Lord to hear,

Alleluia, alleluia!

Thou fire so masterful and bright,

that givest man both warmth and light,

O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

4. And all ye men of tender heart,

forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

praise God and on him cast your care:

O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

5. Let all things their Creator bless,

and worship him in humbleness,

O praise Him, Alleluia!,

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One:

O praise him, O praise him, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Prayer and Lord’s prayer.

 

We come today, Lord, to worship you. we bow our heads before you, to learn by your wisdom by your love.  Lord, open our hearts to receive you, in ways beyond whatever we could ever ask or even think. Father God, we are here today, to praise you, to learn from you. Your wisdom, shown to us through Jesus, is far greater than that of the world. It has the power to amaze all our hopes and wishes. We approach you now as children, sitting at your feet, bathed in your love. Speak to us, Lord.  Lord, forgive us for the times when our picture and understanding of you are far too small; when we try to fit you into a small compartment of our daily life. Forgive us, Lord, and make us whole. Lord, we like to think we don’t need anybody’s help. Even when the going is tough, we will plough it alone. That is what is we believe to be expected in this world, pride and self-sufficiency, never giving in. But you see that this is the way of slavery: you offer us a different yoke. We confess the need of your help, your guidance, until and we fall into step with you.   As Jesus praised his Father in heaven, so do we. We praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden things from the wise, and revealed them to us, your children, through Jesus, your most precious Son. We praise you, Lord. ----- Lord’s Prayer

 

All age talk

 

Do you ever get tired? So tired that you just want to lie down and go to sleep? There are a lot of things that makes us tired, like too many jobs to do and not enough time to do them.  Or playing sports too often or getting too much homework, well we feel sometimes it’s too much. And when we go on a long, boring journey? Sometimes people even get tired in church. People get tired physically. People also get tired spiritually. Here's why: I want you to think you have a huge rucksack and today we will put some different weights in it. First one is a big stone and it has the word anger on it. Put that in. And another with jealousy and all the rest of the stones we carry in our hearts stones of “sadness,” “sin,” lying”, “swearing,” “not praying” etc.  Now, who would like to wear this for a whole week 24 hours a day and even go to bed with it on. It will be very heavy and so uncomfortable with all the rough stones sticking out every corner of the rucksack.  I don’t fancy that. Now carrying this packed bag around would make anybody very tired. So what can we do with all the stones that we have been carrying around making us so tired? Well Jesus told his disciples, and us, “come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” So we may take our heavy rucksacks filled to Jesus.  And pray for them to be taken from our backs. Jesus takes the stones upon himself and we can feel the weight being taken from us and receive the rest we need. Of course they will come back at times but we need to keep praying and asking the Lord to take on our yoke as we walk with him.


Prayer: Thank you Jesus for taking my heavy burdens away. Amen.

 

CH4 530 One More step along the world I go

 
 

1 One more step along the world I go,

One more step along the world I go;

From the old things to the new,

Keep me travelling along with you:

And it's from the old I travel to the new;

Keep me travelling along with you.  

 

2 Round the corners of the world I turn,

More and more about the world I learn;

All the new things that I see

You'll be looking at along with me.

And it's from the old I travel to the new;

Keep me travelling along with you.

 

3 As I travel through the bad and good. 

Keep me travelling the way I should.

Where I see no way to go,

you'll be telling me the way, I know.

And it's from the old I travel to the new;

Keep me travelling along with you.  

 

3 Give me courage when the world is rough,

Keep me loving though the world is tough;

Leap and sing in all I do,

Keep me travelling along with you:

And it's from the old I travel to the new;

Keep me travelling along with you.

 

4 You are older than the world can be,

You are younger than the life in me;

Ever old and ever new,

Keep me travelling along with you:

And it's from the old I travel to the new;

Keep me travelling along with you.

 

Reading Psalm 145 Verses 8 – 14

MP 51 Be thou my vision   

1 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

naught be all else to me, save that thou art—

thou my best thought by day or by night,

waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

 

2 Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;

thou my great Father, I thy true son;

thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

 

3 Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;

be thou my dignity, thou my delight,

thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:

raise thou me heaven-ward, O Power of my power.

 

4 Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,

thou mine inheritance, now and always:

thou and thou only, first in my heart,

High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

 

5 High King of heaven, my victory won,

may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Prayers of intercession

We pray for churches throughout the world, that we may learn new ways of sharing the gospel. We give thanks for the vision and compassion, the integrity and faithfulness of our national and international church leaders. We pray for all leaders and ministers in our local church families. We pray too for those who have been damaged by religion, for one another in our daily encounters, and for those we hold in our hearts who we would love to see come to faith Lord God, we lift your children before you.  We pray for all in authority, that they will be respectfully conscious of the weight on their shoulders, and that they will act responsibly for the people they serve. We pray for them in their personal lives, with the worries and cares that only they see. We pray for our friends, family, colleagues. We pray that as we walk alongside them, you will use us to bring them close to you, and they will learn of your love. We pray that we might be sensitive to the needs of those around us – the people we see every day, perhaps as fleetingly as at the shops, or in the bus queue. We have no idea what burdens they are carrying, or if they need a kind word from you that only we can give. We pray that we will see the positive in people, even when it’s hard, and reach out to encourage them. Lord, you know how weary and bowed down we feel sometimes. We come to you for rest. We come to you in emptiness and cry to you for your fullness. Rescue and fill us, Lord. To you, God of love, we entrust our prayers in Jesus name. Amen.

MP 275 I heard the voice of Jesus say.

1 I heard the voice of Jesus say:

'Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, O weary one, lay down

Your head upon my breast.'

I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad,

I found in him a resting place,

and he has made me glad.

 

2 I heard the voice of Jesus say:

'Behold I freely give

The living water; thirsty one,

Stoop down and drink and live.'

I came to Jesus, and I drank

of that life-giving stream;

My thirst was quenched,

my soul revived,

and now I live in him.

 

3 I heard the voice of Jesus say:

'I am this dark world's light;

Look unto Me, the dawn shall rise,

and all your day be bright.' 

I looked to Jesus, and I found

In Him my Star, my Sun;

And in that light of life I'll walk

till travelling days are done.

Gospel Reading Mathew Ch. 11 verses 16 – 19 – 25 – 30                  

Sermon.  

I’m exhausted … I’m stressed to the limit … I’m bone-tired … I feel drained … I’m running on fumes … I’m on the edge. Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say those words? At one time or another, most of us have been there. We live in a fast-paced world, where we’re often overachievers -- hurrying, rushing, working too hard, until our energies are depleted and our well-being is in tatters. And then we come to church. Welcome! Welcome to this church, -- this place for tired, weary people. In our text for today, Jesus gives a clear invitation and a promise: “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” We may come to church for many different reasons. But we also know that too many of us come here stressed and worried, troubled and tired. We really have to take time for Jesus’ promise to work its way, into our very being. Jesus understood this need. He knew the importance of rest -- time for replenishing his soul. People were often crowding around him; they wanted what he offered -- healing, forgiveness, courage, hope, life. Jesus is all compassion, He never turned anyone away. But he did take time to find a quiet place to rest and pray. In the text today, Jesus is giving us an invitation from his own practice: “Come to me … and I will give you rest.”  Now let’s do what it says! Let’s take some silence, some time to rest, and allow Jesus’ words to enter into your hearts and minds. Take a minute to be still, in the quiet, gifts are given that we cannot give ourselves. His yoke is a gift. Learn from this gift, turn to Jesus for the guidance and pray that the burden may be lightened. When our heart is open. The first is the gift of time. Time to be with Him, Jesus in church it provides the room for Jesus’ invitation. He’s echoing one of the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.” Sabbath is a gift, a day of rest. We know when God made the world he worked six days, and then rested on the seventh day. If it was good enough for God, it’s good enough for us. The second gift Jesus offers is release -- the opportunity to let go of stresses and pressures, release the inner obstacles that block us. The song from the film Frozen “Let it go, let it go.” The words ‘let it go’ should be ones we take on board and rest when we are tired or like God on the seventh day we come into his presence and ‘let it go’ in our prayers and worship. Whatever dilemma, problem or anxiety is clogging our insides, “let it go.” In the silence, this time of rest.  The third gift in Jesus’ invitation is the ‘gift of the inner being’ at peace. When we can let it go, we’re removing all that stops us from being with God and just taking the time to do so. When we do this we will feel refreshed and God wants us to feel him give us fullness of life. That wellspring flows with goodness; it’s the source of our being. Jesus tells us, “I have come that you might have abundant life” -- fullness of life (John 10:10). Not existence, not half-life, but aliveness, fullness of life. This life force comes to us from the inner wellspring -- “that of God in every person. The fourth gift. When we go to God -  we receive the gift of energy for our work in the world. We have to restore ourselves to do this we have to take time to allow the energy to be replaced. Jesus is our role model; He was often going off to pray, to re-connect. Then he would head back to his ministry. This pattern is the model for all of us. We all have our personal leadings, our callings for specific work that continues the mission of Jesus, those we serve. Come to me, Jesus says -- to my way, my practice. I will give you rest. This rest is better than sleep; it’s rest for the soul. He’s echoing Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. … God leads me beside still waters. God restores my soul.” Restores my deepest self! When we get to the place of genuine rest, we re-connect with the source of life, abundant life. Come to me, Jesus says, and find life-giving rest. Amen.

We are more used to asking God for a blessing than raising our voices to bless God ourselves, but that is what this psalm is about. All God’s creatures praise and bless God, proclaiming his goodness and mercy to the whole world. The question for us today is: do we live out God’s goodness and mercy as we live in the world? And, if we live it, do we also make God known?

MP 708 To God be the Glory.

To God be the glory, great things he has done;

So loved he the world that he gave us his Son.

Who yielded his life an atonement for sin,

And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,

Let the earth hear His voice;

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,

Let the people rejoice; O, come to the Father,

through Jesus the Son,

And give Him the glory;

great things He has done!

 

2 Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,

To every believer the promise of God;

The vilest offender who truly believes,

That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Praise the Lord…

 

3 Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,

and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;

But purer, and higher, and greater will be

Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord

 

Benediction

Jesus has called us to come to him and blessed us with his richness. Now he sends us out into his world, to make sure people see him, and listen to him, through us. Go forth with Jesus, joined to him, in friendship, love and prayer. We are yours, Lord. Use us as you will.

Amen.