Christian Aid Week – 10 – 16 May 2021

 

 

     Christianaid

Christian Aid Week nationwide will take place from 10th to 16th May 2021.

What is Christian Aid ?   Why does it exist ?   What does it do ?

Christian Aid is committed to supporting poor and marginalised people, whatever their beliefs, or ethnicity.  It follows strict standards for aid work. Christian Aid believes that everyone is equal in the sight of God.  Poverty is an outrage against humanity – it robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive.

Christian Aid operates in nearly 40 counties, promoting sustainable development, striving for social justice, pursuing a vision of a world without poverty.

Today Christian Aid addresses the very real and immediate impact of climate change on some of the poorest communities in the world, by challenging governments on their response to the climate crisis.  The climate crisis is the highlight of the Appeal nationwide this year.

The traditional red envelope for Christian Aid Week will be available in church Sunday 9th and Sunday 16th May.

Please give a donation within the red envelope and give permission to make your donation worth 25% more by completing the Gift Aid form attached to the envelope.

Online Sunday Service – May 1st 2021

Good morning all , I hope you are well this morning and can find the time to read through today’s Service.

Why not make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and perhaps a biscuit too (go on, spoil yourself) – sit, relax and see what it has to say to you.

AUDIO VERSION – As you may have noticed, we have had a few teething problems going live.

At present the Sunday Morning  service can be seen live at 11am on the Kilmacolm Old Kirk Facebook page – and a recorded version will be available in the afternoon on You Tube / Kilmacolm Old Kirk.

And some not so good news – double trouble in the Ramsden household I’m afraid.

Jo is going into hospital on 20th May for a fairly major operation and I would ask you to keep her in your prayers.

And – as some of you may know, I  have been struggling for a while now so will be taking a couple of weeks off (after today) – for my own good health and more importantly, to spend quality time with Jo – that’s the plan anyway.

Be good and take care – and I don’t want to hear any stories when I come back !

Take care, keep safe and God bless.

Iain

Video Version

Printed Version

Sunday 1st May 2021

Welcome / Intimations – Session Clerk

Good morning – it is lovely to see you here this morning – and I pray that the grace and the peace of our dear Lord Jesus will be with you.

(and with you)

Thank you.

 

Let us Worship god

Call to Worship

“As we draw together – let us listen to God’s word to see what he has to say to us today – let us begin our time of worship with our morning prayers –

 

LET US PRAY ~

Almighty God, We come together this day –  to worship you – and to give you our praise.

But first we must prepare our selves – put our thoughts in order – arrange our priorities so that we can fully concentrate on you and so worship you with all reverence and respect…. Help us to take breath – take time – from our busy schedules to relax in your presence – to enjoy your presence – and to gain all we can from being here with you and our church family-

 (silence)

As we leave the past week behind us – and look to the week ahead – we pray that we feel your presence in all we say and do – your calming presence – your loving presence – your sustaining presence in a busy and demanding world…. (silence)

In our worship this morning – we are reminded that you are always by our side – watching, caring, providing for our every need – We thank you generous Lord – and offer you our heartfelt worship………………

Encouraging God, we worship and praise you..

 

Merciful God,

you call us to love others and to show that love –  to testify to the reality of our faith through the love we show to others.

It all sounds so wonderful in theory, but when it comes to practice we find that it’s easier to say – than to do.

Forgive us, we pray for all that we do and say and think that is not in accordance with your will  – for the times we turn away when things need to be done – the kind word we left unsaid – for the criticism which comes so easily off our lips – for those we have not helped and those who we have not seen as your children too…….

 

Be with us now listening Lord as we sit together for a few silent moments – looking back over the past week or two – thinking of all the things we regret having said, done and thought – things that hurt and disappoint you – things we bring before you now – in the peace of our silence……………………silence…………….

 

for all this, and for so much more Lord- we ask for your mercy and your grace – and pray for your forgiveness – in Jesus’ name.

 

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~

 

Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.

 

HYMN 550 – “As the dear pants for the water…”

 

“As the deer pants for the water,

so my soul longs after you.

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship you.”

 

……………Robin plays the tune…………

 

 

PREAMBLE TO READINGS –

Both of our reading this morning remind us that our downcast spirits are soon revived when we recognise God in our everyday lives.

 

We can often become jaded  and disheartened when things don’t turn out as we had thought they would – but a recognition of all that god has done – and continues to do for us – should lift our spirits and give us great joy….

 

But lets hear God’s word as …Susan……….. Reads for us – firstly from the book of Psalms – and then from John’s gospel

 

……Susan………. Please

 

LET US HEAR THE WORD OF GOD –

 

READINGS – Psalm 42

Longing for God and His Help in Distress

 

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,[
a]
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help.”

 

And ~

 

John 21 : 1-14 New Revised  Standard Version

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

21 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin,[a] Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards[b] off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”

AMEN.

 

This is the word of the Lord – thanks be to God

 

SERMON

Well, here we are – just a few weeks since what has been called the “Easter event’ but of course it wasn’t just an “event” – and event is usually a “one off” experience  like a concert for example – but the resurrection was much more than that – it was to change the lives of people all over the world – it was to ‘change the world’ from a dark world of fear and darkness – to a world of light and hope.

 

The disciples had seen and heard their friends and Saviour cruelly murdered on a cross. Their lives were devastated- their hearts were broken – their hopes and dreams  shattered.

 

They had heard stories that Jesus had been seen alive in and around Jerusalem – and maybe that was true – after all, He said that He would but He certainly hadn’t been seen here in Galilee.

 

So there they were – sitting around, lying low incase the authorities took them in for questioning.

It was evening – another long night in front of them.

Simon Peter had had enough – ‘I don’t know about you” he said to the others “but I’m going fishing – anyone coming with me?’

And you can almost hear the relief in the voices of the others as they very quickly agree: “Good idea – we’ll come with you.” anything to take their minds off their loss – anything to fill that aching empty feeling.

 

And so they set out – doing what they knew best – fishing.

 

Only this fishing trip wasn’t a success. Perhaps their heart wasn’t in it.

And what can be more frustrating and depressing for professional fishermen than to come home with empty nets?

Nothing was going right for them, not even their work.

 

But then, gradually, after a long dark night, light began to dawn. And as the light increased, so there in the distance, they were able to see a figure standing on the shore.   Perhaps he’d been there all the time, throughout the entire period of darkness, perhaps he’d been silently watching their struggle – but they hadn’t been able to see him until the darkness began to lift.

 

At any event, by the time they spotted him, he had a fire going and fish cooking, so he must have been there for quite a while.

But – as in almost all the other resurrection stories, they failed to recognise Jesus.

Even so, they follow the instructions of this enigmatic stranger.

 

So they cast their nets on the other side and – and they caught so many fish they could hardly haul them all in.

 

Listen to Jesus  – obey his words – and things happen.

 

And then they recognized who this stranger on the shore really was – Jesus himself!

The One who had power over all creation, could calm the waves of the sea, heal the sick, raise the dead, and to whom nothing was impossible, was calling to them.

 

We can imagine the joy and the delight they must have felt – so it was true!!  Jesus REALLY HAS come back!!

 

He promised He would – and He always keeps His promises.

 

It was a double delight for them – their friend and Saviour was with them again !

And a miracle of a catch which would not only feed their families but a whole village too!

 

This was the third time after the Resurrection that Jesus had appeared, and revealed to the disciples, that He was the Messiah.

This miracle not only blessed them with a boat filled with fish, but it also restored their hope and confidence that had been lost over the recent horrible ordeal when they had thought they had lost their Master.

But what has all this got to say to us – in our own lives, here, today?

 

Well, the simple phrase ‘they caught nothing’ is a profound one.

How often have we worked hard for something, only for it to come to nothing? It is easy for us to give up, feeling disappointed that it has all been a waste of time and energy.

Like Peter and his colleagues, we catch nothing, and find it difficult to understand where we’ve gone wrong.

 

But with nothing to lose – they take the advice of the stranger and cast their nets on the other side –  and bingo! A bumper haul !

Just who was this man?

 

Listening to Jesus – obeying His advice – pays dividends, as the fishermen found out – and that is true for us too.

 

But it’s not just about hearing His words – it is about taking heed of them and putting them in to practice.

 

Maybe things don’t always work as we had  intend or hoped for – but don’t give up.

Be faithful in prayer – settle your mind, listen to His words and try again.

 

We strive – we strain – we struggle – with all sorts of problems and difficult issues – and so often the last person we turn to is Jesus – yet he is there for us – he is here for us – watching – waiting to be asked in to your life.

 

He sees things from a better vantage point – and knows just how and where to go to get the best results.

 

Look for him –turn to him – recognise him  –

Come to him in trust and faith. listen to His words

and I can absolutely promise that your life will take an amazing turn for the better.

 

Expect Him to help you and He will.

 

Come half-heartedly and we will receive accordingly……… but give yourself completely to Him – trust Him totally – and you will receive everything you could ever ask for – aye – and much more beside – just like those disciples.

 

I once saw a logo on a fish shop in Buckie which said – “choose fish – choose life !”

Maybe that’s a logo which isn’t so far from the truth for us as we follow Christ.

 

Christ is here with us – he’s all around us – through

His Holy Spirit which surrounds us –  He is watching  – waiting – wanting you to see Him and respond to Him and His word – so  that he can turn your life around.

 

I pray that you will have the eyes to see Him – and the ears to hear Him as He calls you to follow Him – to worship Him – and then go out and to be “fishers of men and women”  telling others the wonderful Good News  – in joy – hope –  and in love.

 

Are you up for the challenge? –

I hope and pray that you are –

 

And I pray for each one of you, in the precious name of Jesus Christ – God’s only Son – our only hope.

 

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of His Holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

 

ORGAN PIECE …….ROBIN………….

 

PRAYER

 

Risen and living God, we give you our heartfelt thanks for all your goodness to us  -you have blessed us with so much – over so many years – and we take time now to say “thank you Lord – thank you”

But there seems to be so much evil in the world that some say you are no longer present.

When we hear about small children working as slaves in factories, or people dying of hunger, or the spread of awful diseases because of the lack of simple drugs, the world’s problems feel overwhelming.

 

May we see you not on the distant shore but face to face, so that all our thoughts, words and actions are coloured by personal knowledge of your presence.

But may we never be content to rest on our own laurels, and instead strive always to improve conditions for those with whom we live and work. And may we be so concerned about all our collective children that our major priority is to bring them up to know you as their god.
Hold in your loving presence those of our friends and families who are sick, asking you to pour the force of your healing power into them. And we pray silently for them now ~ a short time for personal prayer………..

 

 

We pray for those who are effected by wars and disasters and we think particularly of  the dozens killed and many more injured in Israel at their religious festival this past week.

 

We pray for  their families and friends who mourn them…….. Be with them in their loss – comfort them and draw close to them that they might feel the sound of your heartbeat and the warmth of your loving arms around them…………

 

Bless all who need your love and your comfort at this time.

 

Lord, accept these prayers for we bring them before you in the name of our dear and precious jesus………..Amen.

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

 

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates.

Ahead of him is a man who’s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans.

Saint Peter addresses the man wearing somewhat sloppy clothes, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?”

The man replies, “I’m wee Jimmy – a taxi driver, in the city of Glasgow.”

Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, “Ah yes, take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff.

 

Then it’s the Minister’s turn. He stands up tall and booms out in his very best Ministerial voice  ~  “I am the Reverend Mark Matthews, Minister of Saint Mary’s Church, for the last forty-three years.”

Saint Peter consults his list., “No, I can’t find your name – oh wait – here it is”

He says to the minister, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of  Heaven.”

“Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man before me was a taxi-driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff.
Why, How can this be?”

Saint Peter, looks to the preacher and says,

“Up here, we work by results,”
“While you preached, people slept.

But when wee Jimmy drove ~ people prayed!!”

 

There are times when we find ourselves struggling – perhaps even failing in our aims… and when these times come it is important that we turn to God in Prayer to talk to God and to listen for his words to us.

And take heart from those fishermen in Galilee –

Things go better when we listen to the words of Jesus………

Have you invited Him in to your life yet?

Food for thought for us all.

AMEN.

 

AND NOW OUR FINAL HYMN –

 

HYMN 512 – “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.”

 

……………Robin plays the tune…………

 

 

AND NOW WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND –

 

“May the God of peace go with us –

A we travel from this place.

May the love of Jesus keep us

firm in Hope and full of Grace”

 

Benediction

Go out in love, joy, hope and peace

 

Go with God’s love in your heart – and his hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen.            

 

 

 PLEASE Take care and keep safe.

 

 

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 28th April 2021

Good morning all, welcome to our Midweek Meditation for the 28th April 2021.

 

Audio Version

Printed Version

Online Midweek Meditation

28.4.21

Be the reason someone Smiles today

Well, I hope you didn’t go too wild this week after being set free after being in lockdown for so long! It seems strange to see so many people out and about – how quick we are to get back into a routine.

Some seemed to get through the pandemic pretty well, while others struggled to cope with being hemmed in.

*

It is true to say that everyone we meet is fighting a battle of some sort. Whether it be serious illness, worries about family members, finances or 101 others things.

It’s good for us to remember that when someone seems to be acting out of character, being difficult , being irritable or  behaving oddly.  When we remember this, it changes how we see them.

Releasing kindness out into the world it is like throwing a pebble into a pool of water as we see the ripples of kindness spread out far beyond the initial point of contact.

Smiles are exchanged, good relationships are created, happy smiley people start to surround you and before we know it, people are passing on happiness and kindness all around.

 

Perhaps the most powerful acts of kindness are those which are least expected. Helping a stranger who is struggling or smiling at someone who is expecting look of anger from you, for example.

 

One of my favourite stories in the Old Testament is about King David and a man called Mephibosheth (Mef – I – bo – sheth).

Mephibosheth was the son of David’s friend Jonathon, and was severely disabled.

 

A plot to overthrow King David had been exposed and Mephibosheth’s name had been associated with the plot.

 

David called for Mephibosheth to be brought him and everyone thought he would put him to death

 

When he saw the extent of Mephibosheth’s disability, instead of executing him, David took pity on him and allowed him to live in the Royal palace, with all the luxuries, for as long as Mephibosheth lived.

 

It is a lovely story, more so in those cruel times when life was cheap.  Why not read it for yourself? See 2nd Samuel 9 : 1 – 7.

 

A simple and straightforward message – but it’s much more than that – it’s a condition of good living for Gods’ people – listen to these Bible readings –

 

Firstly from  Luke’s Gospel ~

 

Luke 6 : 35    New Living Translation

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High

 

Ephesians 4 : 32  NLT

32 Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

 

Titus 3 : 4 – 5   NLT

When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

If we want a better society, a better world – then like that pebble in the pool,  it has to start somewhere – let it start with you and with me………

Listen to these quotes –

 

“Kindness is a wonderful gift to let another struggling soul that there is still love on the world.”

 

“Kindness is the gift everyone can afford to give…”

 

And finally ~

 

“Show kindness to others, not because of who  they are or what they can give in return – but because of who you are.”

 

Will you be the reason someone smiles today?

I pray that you will be.

Amen.

 

Let us pray –

Living, Loving God, thank you for all your kindness to me, even although there are times when I don’t deserve it.

You continue to shower me with blessings – and even in the dark times I know that you are there for me.

 

Thank you so much Lord.

 

Help me to show that same love and kindness to others, more especially to those who are struggling – so that I may play some small part in helping them get through their day – and be the reason someone smiles each day.

Hear my prayer listening Lord.

For I pray in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

I invite you to sit with me and pray a short prayer with me…… wherever you may be, why not sit back, close your eyes for a few moments and pray with me –

A Prayer for Personal Peace”………

 

Make yourself comfortable – close your eyes, relax your body and your mind……..

Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds – and then breath out slowly………………

 

 

Let us pray –

Holy, Heavenly Father….

Be with me as I sit for a short while –

enjoying the peace………

appreciating the calm…………

 

Hear my breath as I breath slowly in ……………..

and slowly out……… …… ……………

 

slowly in ……………..

and slowly breath out……………………………..

 

Draw close to me as I calm my mind……………

Draw close to me as I relax my body……………

 

Remind me that I am wonderfully made in the Father’s own image……………

 

Remind me that you love me……………

 

Remind me that you watch over me like a good shepherd……………..

 

Your love and kindness gives me every reason to smile each day……….

 

Remind me that you want only the best for me…………

 

Jesus I love you………

Holy spirit I love you……….

Father, I love you………….

 

I am loved and blessed more than I could ever ask for – more than I could ever deserve –………………

 

Jesus I am at peace in your presence………..

I am holy in your presence………..

I am comfortable in your presence…………..

Hear my prayer Lord Jesus…………

 

Hear my prayer…………..

As I open my mind…………

As I open my heart………..

As I open my life to you………

Come in to  my life and give me your deep peace…..…………………………….

 

For I ask in the name of Jesus, your only son –

My only hope for life here………

and life hereafter…………………

 

Amen………………….

 

Take care and May God bless You – and those your love ones too

 

Have a good week.

please – keep safe……..

Online Sunday Service – 25th April 2021

Good morning all , I hope you are well this morning and can find the time to read through today’s Service.

Why not make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and perhaps a biscuit too – sit, relax and see what it has to say to you.

 

AUDIO VERSION – As you may have noticed, we have had a few teething problems going live. The services are shown live on the Kilmacolm Old Kirk Facebook page then downloaded later on to YouTube in video format.

 

I am hoping that if you go to Kilmacolmoldkirk.org you will find a link there to our Facebook page to see the service live.

We live in hope! J

Iain

 

Video Version

Printed Version

Welcome / Intimations – Session Clerk

“Good morning – lovely to see you  – and may the Love and the Grace of our dear Lord Jesus be with you.”

(AND WITH YOU)

THANK YOU

Call to Worship –

 

Psalm 100 reminds us that we are to –
    “Worship the Lord with gladness.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!”

 

As we unite together, wherever ever we may be, let us begin our worship God with our morning prayers,  let us pray –

Prayer

Loving and heavenly Father – we come here this morning as individuals yes, but also as a gathering of family and friends from our different homes.

We come to give you thanks for all your goodness to us – and to acknowledge you as our great and glorious God. The God who created the universe and all that is in it – the God who first spun the world into motion – and the God who created life – and continues to re-create life each  and every day.

 

When we take the time to look around and see the beauties of the world around us – we see what a wonderful, amazing, awesome God you are!!

You are beyond anything our human minds can understand – and although we cannot know all there is to know about you – we can and do know that you love us – even tho’ we are , at times, not as loveable as we ought be. But you continue to love us anyway.

Forgive us for the times we wander from the path you have laid out for us – for the times we think we know best and try to live our lives without you.

Lord, you know all our faults and failings – you know what we’re like – but you also know that we are good, decent people trying to live good lives – guide us back when we get lost – lift us up when we fall – encourage us when we are disheartened and give us your strength when we are weak and vulnerable.

 

Hear us Father, Forgive us Father we pray– and hear us now as we say together, the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer, together –

 

OUR FATHER..who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.

 

Hymn 532 – “Lord, you have come to the seashore”

  (Iain to read verse 1– Robin then plays the tune)

PREAMBLE TO READINGS

 

Our first reading for today is taken from the gospel of John.

Where we hear Jesus explaining how,  when we live his way – he sees us as friends. But take special note of verse 16 –

 

And our second reading is from the first letter from Peter –  where he talks about building a ‘spiritual house’ – not made of stone but of “living stones” – people, like you and I.

A ‘chosen people’ – living good and upright lives – built on a good foundation – of faith in Jesus Christ – the one who was once rejected – but now exalted….

And pay particular attention to verse 9 – a chosen people….

 

But let’s hear it for ourselves –

From the New Revised Standard Version

Readings – JOHN 15 : 15 – 17   &   1st PETER 2 : 4 – 9

Let us listen to the word of God

Mary please ~

15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant[b] does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

And –

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built[a] into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him[
b] will not be put to shame.”

To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”

and “A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,[c] in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  Amen.

This is the word of the Lord – thanks be to God

SERMON

Wasn’t it Forrest Gump who said “life is like a box of chocolates..?”

 

Imagine I were to give you a box of your favourite chocolates- what would be the first thing you would do ??

 

I don’t know about you – but when I open  a box of chocolates – the first thing I do is – pick my favourites….!! J

 

I’d probably go for  the Turkish Delight or the orange cream.

And the likes of the toffee cracknel or the nougat would end up being left in the box !!

 

I suppose you can afford to be choosy – when you have a choice.

Which makes the words of Jesus in the passage from John’s gospel all the more meaningful – for we heard of Jesus telling his disciples that of all the thousands of people he could have chosen to be his disciples, He chose them !

 

And to be kind to them – they weren’t exactly the obvious choice – especially if they planned to start a world-changing movement.

 

Yet Jesus chose them above all others, seeing qualities in them that he could take and use in the fulfilling of his purpose.

 

And – you know – it’s the same today……

He still chooses people.  Everyday, ordinary people like you and I– and uses us to do his work – seeing in us, things that others, including ourselves, may not see, to further his purpose – and to help unfold his plan.

 

But in all this we can see, if we look – that like the first disciples – He chooses us….

 

He is the one who initiates the  relationship.

 

He chooses us – we don’t choose him!

 

We respond to his call…………..

 

But why does He do that?

 

Because, like with those first disciples – he sees in us something special – something which he loves and values.

 

The greatest wonder of all is that he leaves no-one out when choosing –

He doesn’t pick his favourites and leave rejects at the end of the pile.

Though many may reject him – he discards no-one – he has a place for everyone – a purpose for each of us.

 

And when we are ready to receive him and accept his invitation – “he calls us friends” as we heard in our first reading…….

 

Do you sometimes question whether you have any place in God’s Kingdom?

 

Do you doubt that he will want you

That you might be  of little use to him?

 

Or perhaps you feel you have no right to call yourself a ‘Christian’? With some of the things you may say, do or think….??

 

If so, then remember this : before you even knew there was a choice to make – Jesus     chose    you……………

 

You see – he knows you – he knows all about you. And he still wants you

 

The Bible tells us that he even knows how many hairs there are on your head – in other words – he knows every little detail of you and your life…. And he handpicked you – in order that he might bless you – honour and shower you with love and affection.

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And on that final day – when he calls for you to join him –  he promises that he will be there, waiting to welcome you in to that wonderful, eternal kingdom – because you are on of his “chosen ones” – not because of anything you have done to deserve it – but because He is the almighty creator God – who overflows with grace and blessings and he loves you – and all he wants is for you to love him too.

 

I pray that you will – that we all will – and spend the rest of the time we have left on this earth, living his way, following his path, in faith and thanksgiving – so we might then spend  an eternity in peace and tranquility hereafter.

 

I pray that you will see just how precious you really are

To our wonderful, amazing – God of love.

 

Let us join in a short prayer –

 

“Lord Jesus Christ, whenever I question my worth, teach me that you believe in me totally, even enough to give up your life for me – that I might, one day, enter your glorious kingdom, and in that knowledge may I live each day, at peace with myself, at peace with others, and at peace with you…”

 

And all this – in Jesus’ precious name.

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of His holy word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

 

And now- A short time for Reflection……………

 

Organ Piece – Robin  Time to Reflect

Let us Pray ~

Prayer

Heavenly Father- lord of lords, king of kings – God of all gods – you are the one who holds the world in balance – you are the one who holds us in the palm of your hand.

You are the one who provides for our daily needs – the one who watches over us and cares for each and every one of us.

 

Yet you are the one – sadly – who we so often take for granted…

 

Help us to see and appreciate all that you have done for us – and continue to do.

Help us to give you our thanks – and to take time each day to look around and see all that you have blessed us with. Family and friends – a roof over our head and food on our table – and so much more.

 

Help us too – to take time each day – to see the plight of others.  To look around and see who is in need – and give us a heart to help where we can.

 

We think particularly of the many lives lost in India in the Hospital fire a few days ago – bless their loved ones and give them your comfort in their sadness, we pray,

 

We think today of those who are homeless and helpless – those who suffer at the hands of others who exert power over them.

 

Lord, you said to us –

“Blessed are those who are persecuted, the poor, the meek and those who mourn.”

We pray for those for whom these things are not just a fear but a reality.

Bless them as you promise you will – bring them out of their darkness and in to the warmth and light of your love.

 

Today we pray for those we know who need a prayer at this time.

Particularly for –

The family of Netta Martin whose funeral is later this week.

Bless her husband Jack, her son John and all of the family. Bless them with your comfort and your peace.

We pray for our church family – for our community and for ourselves.

 

Bless us we pray – bless our families and friends – and bless those with whom we are at variance.

 

Listening lord hear now our prayers as we sit for a few silent moments – each with our own thoughts – each with our own prayer…………………….

 

Hear our prayers – both spoken and silent – for we bring them to you in the holy and precious name of your only son – our only hope – Jesus Christ.           Amen

 

Thought for the Week

 

Here’s a true story –

In South Africa, under apartheid, a young coloured boy  was walking along with his mother when a tall white man passed by and raised his hat to his mother.

The boy was amazed – fancy a white man raising his hat to a black woman!

‘Why did he do that!?” He asked his mother.

“Because is a clergy-man, a man of god” his mother replied.

“Well, I want to be a man of God too” said the boy.

 

And true to his word – many years later became a clergy man in the troubled district of Johannesburg – where he spent his life working tirelessly against apartheid and racism.

– in fact he became quite a famous clergyman  – for you see, his name was

Desmond Tutu!”….

 

We never know what impression people may have of us – when they see us acting in a good and kindly way – or not

It can the most profound effect on those around us.

 

As people of God – we must always careful how we live and what we say – we are, the Bible says – “ambassadors for Christ” –

So here’s a thought for us all to take home and think about this week –

 

You may not see them – but people are watching and listening…

Is the way you speak, live and treat others showing  Jesus in a good light?

 

What kind of “ambassador for Christ ” are you ??

– a good one ?

 

Or do your ‘Jesus skills’ need a bit of polishing up??

 

It makes you think doesn’t it?

At least – I hope it does….

Amen.

 

We have been thinking about being called by Jesus – and so our final Hymn is –

Hymn  340 – “When Jesus saw the fishermen”

 “When Jesus saw the fishermen,

In boats upon the sea,

He called to them “Come, leave your nets –

and follow, follow me”

Robin to play the music ……….

 

And now –

 

WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND…

 

“May the God of peace go with us –

A we travel from this place.

May the love of Jesus keep us

firm in Hope and full of Grace”

 

Benediction

Go out in love, joy, hope and peace

 

Go with God’s love in your heart – and his hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen.            

 PLEASE Take care and keep safe.