God's Love - Sunday Worship 10th January
This Sunday our Pastor Julie will be leading Enderby URC Church in worship via Zoom and Nigel Malka will be preaching at Blaby Congregational Church at 10am. For those unable to join us the service has been prepared and published in collaboration between him and Julie.
Call to worship
Hymn 560 Praise my soul the King of Heaven
Lord of our journeys, help us this day to have eyes to see your leading, ears to hear your guidance, and a heart of courage, that we may journey faithfully and find your way – even when the path may seem difficult and dark. Amen.
Father God, full of wisdom and power, whose mighty arm stretches over all the earth: we bow down in humble adoration.
Holy Saviour, full of grace, lighting up our world: we bow down in humble adoration.
Spirit of the living God, full of the boundless riches available to us in Christ: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three in one: we bow down in humble adoration, open to your direction. Amen.
Glorious Lord, we your sons and daughters come together into your kingly presence. We lift our eyes to you, seeking your guiding light and offering up our gifts of worship and praise. Amen.
The Lords Prayer
Hymn 528 O worship the King.
Bible Reading - 1 John 4:7-end
Word to Church family
God is Love? Easy to say and easy to believe when things are going well.
When surrounded by a loving family, friends and when within a fellowship
People sharing their experiences, supporting one another
Love is one of the attributes that prove we are designed by God
Unfortunately many today don’t acknowledge God’s ways, his creation or his Love
Living in a comfortable society makes people think they don’t need God
Unable to understand why a loving creator allows so much illness & evil to occur
That’s our theme for today, how we can respond to that view?
What’s is God’s love and what isn’t it?
God’s love includes many things; caring for his creation, giving freedom
Setting down standards, providing judgement and justice,
Living in the real world we know that life does has it’s up’s and downs
For some the up’s are very good, and for some the bad is very bad indeed.
When it’s bad, life seems unfair and seems at odds with a ‘good God’ who created life
We ask in the Lord’s prayer, not to be led into temptation,
Yet life is a series of temptations and at times we all fail
But like a loving parent God wants to put us on the right track
Which is why we are given the Word of God, his direction his standards.
And with standards comes correction, with the object of showing the right way
Hymn 181 God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name
Bible Reading Luke 21:5-28
I start every service with this most important message, ‘God Loves you’,
But I was taken aback when a very good Christian friend challenged me.
Saying, “Can you substantiate that God does love us, and what is that love?
Considering all the pain and suffering that occurs in his creation?”
The trouble is there is a basic misconception of who God is and what love is,
Those of us who have been or who had loving parents have an insight into it.
Love is not just about just caring for someone, nor is it about control.
Accepting mistakes happen and that things that might hurt or create unhappiness.
Love sets standards, guidance, freedom and forgiveness or punishment as appropriate
At times we all have to deal with illness, pain, suffering, political upheaval, the loss of something or someone,
a, war, famine, disasters, and a pandemic.
Of course we would like to live in a world where none of these things happen.
Fortunately by making Jesus Lord of our lives, one day we will.
And to get there we are judged on how we use the greatest of God’s gifts - Freewill
Hate, greed, violence, war, these can be put down to the use of man’s free will
We use our freewill, for better or worse we have the ability to decide what we do
Without freewill we are as every other animal – dominated by instinct alone
So if we make a mess of things, well, we shouldn’t blame God.
If I drive recklessly and have an accident then the responsibility is mine not God’s.
We cannot blame God who gave us the gift of freedom when it is us who abuse it.
A gun, in itself is not bad, it’s the person who in their actions abuses it, that is,
When God’s ways are rejected abuses happen
Our greatest command is to Love God, then ourselves and then our neighbours.
We need his forgiveness because we don’t live up to his requirements
His design of us, his hope for us all because of our abuse of his gift of freewill
God created a world of order, based on his ways, his pattern of living.
The world and everything in it has been designed to fit into its own place.
When things don’t fit into the place God set for it, is it surprising thing go wrong.
The saying once bitten twice shy three times a fool is one that may seem rather harsh
Particularly when applied to disasters, but for the moment let’s be dispassionate.
We know that within our created and complex universe
The earth is a living entity that’s required to do certain things to survive.
These include, making internal movement, letting off gas, spinning and irrigation.
Put another way, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and storms.
If people choose to live where these occur and not provide themselves with protection
Then they have to expect that disasters will adversely affect them.
If we build on flood plains and don’t build defences then expect flooding
We know where the fault lines are, so when cities are built on them
Then earthquakes destroy places like San Francisco & Tokyo don’t blame God.
Jesus taught us not to worry for it serves no useful purpose.
We know that worry causes stress and stress causes illnesses
We also know we need good diet and exercise, not cigarettes, drugs, alcohol etc
If we feed our minds and bodies on those thing that Gods tells us not to
Then we have to expect our bodies to react in a way that is not good for us
Many of the illnesses in our society today are self-inflicted.
Those who abuse God’s ways and the gifts they’ve been given