Sunday Worship 27th September
Our church service this week is led by Derrick Tickner who was previously Minister at Blaby Baptist Church and so is very well known to our congregation.
‘Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me.’ Let us also seek the way and the truth of God.
Hymn MP 626 “Teach me Thy way”
I’m grateful, Lord God, that you love me and care for me, that Jesus lived and died for me. I’m grateful that you are interested in me, even me with all my faults and failings. Thank you for sharing my life and my living, for being within my hopes and dreams. Thank you for giving me purpose and meaning. Thank you for showing me how to live a life of goodness and truth, a life of caring and sharing. Thank you for your generosity and abundance even if I fail to see it. Thank you, God, for being you and thank you for making me, me. Amen.
John 15:9 -17
Hymn MP 1 A new commandment I give unto you
What words have we been showered upon us for most of this year -words or phrases perhaps we have never heard or used before.
Words like –
Lockdown --Social Distancing- the ‘R’ number - Daily Briefings -SAGE -Stay Alert ….
What do we make of this strange world of ours? We have had epidemics before, we have had viruses before, we have had bugs before. In the Middle Ages this country of ours was ravaged by a flu bug so that in some areas two out of three people died and whole communities were wiped out. So, at this point you might feel like not wanting to hear anymore of this doom and gloom!
So, let's turn this around, let's be positive, let's look at how we can turn around these phrases that have become so familiar to us and discover what lessons the Holy Spirit would teach us.
Wouldn't Satan love to see us locked down, one of his favourite attacks is in the areas of dis-encouragement and loneliness, something so many have confessed to experiencing in these difficult days. But we have a God who is always with us, walking the journey with us, reassuring us of his presence day by day, and reminding us of His promise ‘I will never leave you nor for sake you’. In these ‘lockdown days’ let us lift up our eyes to the one who always keeps His promises and always walks with his people.
2. SOCIAL DISTANCING
My pastor son in law carries a 2-metre-long garden cane in his car just to illustrate what two metres actually looks like! Most people tend to forget that is only there if the two-metre distance is impractical. One of the significant things to have come out of COVID 19 is the way in which people in our communities have made it their business to look out for others, in ways of support and provision. How encouraging that many of our Food Banks have been established by churches in their communities to express the love of Jesus. One of the significant biblical truths is that God is never at a distance from His people, He is the God of the here and now , supremely illustrated by the coming of Jesus into our world, to share our woes and our joys. The earth He walked in is the earth we walk in, so he knows and stays closer than a brother - how great is that!
3. THE ‘R’ NUMBER
Frequently mentioned in news reports and very carefully watched by government scientists this is the indicator of how well the virus is being contained. But the message of the Bible is that God has his own ‘R’ number, perhaps he has more than one. His greatest is perhaps REDEMPTION, the buying back of each one of us from the depths of our sinfulness. Perhaps another ‘R’ word is RECONCILIATION, God was ‘in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself’ what a miracle of grace that is. And the ‘R’ word leads us to another - that redemption and reconciliation bought about the wonder of a RELATIONSHIP between ourselves and this amazing God of ours.
4. DAILY BRIEFINGS
Did you watch them? Every day at 5:00 o'clock leading up to the 6:00 PM news when government ministers had to face a barrage of questions from the media. Can I ask? do you have a daily briefing with your loving heavenly Father? How is your daily quiet time, reading, prayers? Not trying question God, although His ‘ear is always open to our cry’, but rather to deepen our relationship with him. In fact, our daily briefing is a good barometer of our walk with Him.
The name given to the daily meetings of the scientific advisors to the PM and his ministers. It was the name in history of wise counsellors. The dictionary definition is ‘a great philosopher or a venerable man of sound judgement’. But the Bible calls upon us to seek wisdom from on high. Not the wisdom of the world but godly wisdom promised to everyone who seeks God. Scripture says ‘if anyone lacks wisdom let them ask of god who gives to everyone who asks’.
6. STAY ALERT
What wise advice! What a difficult, complicated, confusing world we live in, how hard to keep alert to the needs and opportunities for witness, help and encouragement all around us. We are constantly being warned to be alert against the dangers posed by those who would defraud us and raid our bank accounts or savings. Paul, writing his final word to the church at Ephesus gave this wise advice ‘be alert and always keep on praying for all the Saints’.
May God richly bless you.
Hymn MP 829 “For the joys and for the sorrows”
So often we want to pray for others. But sometimes, God, we don’t know how. We can’t remember names or numbers; other issues weigh heavily on our hearts. Thank goodness, God, that you know what we mean when we pray. So, we bring in this moment those names and faces, images and desires for others that pop in and out of our minds throughout the day: the old lady at the bus stop who needed a hand up the step; the young mum at the checkout trying to contain her four kids; the chap up the road who’s lost his dog and is calling for him; the teachers struggling to understand the needs of those in their class; the doctors who wants to give us more time but who simply can’t; the young families who can’t make ends meet; those without work, who can’t find new jobs; those helping people to find work, knowing it is an uphill struggle; those with mental health issues and seeking help, or who are afraid and ashamed to seek help, or who are ignored and can’t get help. So, God, for all these people and countless others, we offer our prayers. We know you do not need reminding,
but you do need willing workers – even us – to help them know your love and have their needs met. Hear our ramblings, O God. Amen.
MP 619 “Stand up, stand up for Jesus”