Foodbank Donations And Blythswood Boxes

FOODBANK DONATION and BLYTHSWOOD BOXES

There is a box in the foyer of the church to receive donations for the Foodbank.

Please leave any items in the box in the foyer between 11 am and 1 pm each day when the church is open for private prayer.

There is also to be a Blythswood Boxes collection – please complete your box and hand it in to the church by the end of 6th November.

Further information from Helen Cook for both these items.

Midweek meditation – Wednesday 28th October 2020

28th October 2020

Midweek Meditation

 

What would you say is the most important item in your home?

The Cooker? The Television? The Computer? Your bed?

 

For me it is none of these – it is something far more important – it’s my pillow.

 

No matter where I go, what I do, whatever kind of day I have had –  at the end of the day there is nothing quite like relaxing and laying my head on my soft, comfy pillow and slipping in to a deep sleep. As my Grandfather used to say “Ye cannie whack it!”

 

But sometimes, no matter how soft my pillow is, or how relaxed my body may be – sleep eludes me as thoughts and memories race round and round in my mind, like an old black and white movie on a never ending loop.

 

But not long ago, as I was reading through some old books, I saw the words of a Hymn which said “Jesus you are the pillow for a troubled soul.” What a lovely image!

“A pillow for a troubles Soul.”

“Trust in me,” Jesus says “and I will give you rest.”

 

Let us Pray – you are my pillow on which I can lay my weary head, there I find peace and safety from the world outside.

You offer a calm and tranquillity that restores my troubled soul – and in you I can rest knowing that I am truly safe. How blessed I am, thank you Lord.

Amen.

 

READING –

The words of Psalm 4, verse 8 say to us ~ “I will lie down and sleep because you alone make me dwell in safety.”

 

He gives us comfort like no other can – we can rest our weary soul on Him – for in Him we are safe, secure and enveloped in loving care. No-one, no-thing can harm us as we feel His peace settles over us.

We find rest and a deep peace in our Saviour’s loving arms.

I pray that you will find that deep peace which so often eludes us – put your trust in Him, lay your head on His shoulder and feel His love surround you as you drift off to sleep, safe and secure….. How blessed you are…

Amen.

 

If you are anxious or have trouble sleeping – can I suggest that tonight – as you lay your head on your pillow, that you remember this short reflection – allow your head to sink gently into the softness of the pillow, take a deep breath, hold it for a couple of seconds and then gently exhale (do this between each of the three  phrases) and say slowly to yourself – “I am safe – I am loved – I am blessed” a few times – and I pray that with practice, you will slip into a peace filled and restful sleep. Sleep tight.

*

Have a good week folks , Take care and God Bless..

And Please – Keep safe.

Online Sunday Service – 25th October 2020

25th October 2020

Online Sunday Service

I am the Way and the Truth

 

Good Morning folks,

I hope that you are well and life is being kind to you even at this most difficult of times. As we know, getting through such times is not easy but please remember that there are family, friends and many others who are there for you. You are not alone – you have a God who cares for you and watches over you – and He is only a prayer away.  Never hesitate to close your eyes and talk to Him. He is always there to listen to you. And don’t forget to take time to listen for His words to you.

 

But before we start our Service this morning  – let us pray together ~

Loving God, you are our amazing God, the God who creates life and sustains it……… the God who is in all places at all times – the God who is so immense that we cannot fully understand you – yet you are the God who loves and cares for us every day.

 

We praise you that we can put our hand into yours, knowing that you will lead, guide, support and hold us throughout our lives, that you will supply all our needs and far more besides.

 

We praise you for our experience of that truth across the years —the way you have always held firm to us despite our faults and fickleness, never letting go of us even when we let go of you.

 

Forgive us that we have let go so often,

intent on going our own way;

clinging to what ultimately can never satisfy.

 

Forgive us for doubting you when times are hard,

questioning your ability to lead us safely through. Forgive us for reaching out only when we have need of you,  expecting you to lift us up from trouble of our own making, and to set us on our feet again.

 

Help us to put our hand again in yours, in simple trust, quiet confidence and eager expectation, knowing that whatever we face and wherever we may find ourselves, you will hold us firm.

 

We thank you that you tell us the truth – you show us the way and you offer us life here, and forever.

 

Lord we offer you this prayer in Jesus’ name – and hear us now as we pray together – the prayer that Jesus taught His family to pray – the Lord’s prayer –

 

Our Father, who is in heaven,
bless-ed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
May it be on earth, as it is in heaven.


Give us this day our daily needs.

And help us to forgive others, 

As you forgive us.

 

Keep us from falling in to temptation;
and deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
the power and all the glory,
for ever.

Amen.

 

Today we have 2 Readings ~

 

PSALM 25 : 1 – 5 (Old Testament)

&  JOHN 14 : 1 – 7  (New Testament)

 

Let’s read them now ~

PSALM 25 : 1 – 5 from the New Living Translation

A Psalm of David.

“1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
    I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.”

 

And ~

 

JOHN 14 : 1 – 7   from the New International Version

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Amen.

 

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God

 

SERMON

As some of you will know, we are currently looking at the “I AM” sayings of Jesus.

 

And as you will have worked out – today we are taking a closer look at the saying “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” – to see what it has to us ay to us, in our own lives, today.

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If you managed to read my Midweek meditation for last Wednesday (21.10.20) – I asked the question “have you ever been lost?”

Not just ‘physically’ lost – like when your SatNav sends you the wrong way – but that feeling of detachment, of having ‘lost your way’ in your life, somehow.

 

I guess that we are all  looking for ‘something better’ in life, whatever form that might mean for each of us.

A better job, any job!

Better pay – better conditions, better relationships, better health perhaps.

 

We look, we search, we seek but so often we fail to find that elusive ‘thing’ that will make us truly happy.

 

What would you say if I told you that what you are looking for – is right before your very eyes?

 

Let me explain ~

 

Many of us think that ‘stuff’ makes us happy – and maybe it does – for a while.

That new car, new clothes, new ‘surround sound’ TV etc all give us and endorphin rush, which sadly doesn’t last.

 

For a true, deep and lasting happiness we need some thing, someone, who is true deep and lasting.

But where is that ‘someone’ that ‘something’ to be found?

Which brings us neatly to our Bible passage for today – where Jesus says – “ I am the way, the truth and the life…”

 

“Look no further” He is saying “I am the way to deep fulfillment and true happiness  – I’m telling you the Truth – and through me your Life will be better than you could ever have imagined in your wildest dreams!

 

Well, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that there are far more important and valuable things in life than ‘stuff’.

 

And here is an invitation to find a better, deeper and more profound way of life – and the one who promises us this is the very Son of God – and He is saying “Take my hand, don’t worry, you will be quite safe, and I’ll lead you to see, feel and experience life in a completely different way. You will feel happier than you have ever been, loved more than you’ve ever felt loved, more content and fulfilled than you could imagine possible.”

 

Who wouldn’t want that for themselves and for their loved ones?

 

Here is an opportunity for each of us to know, first hand, the whole mind blowing account of that baby who was born in a Byre in Bethlehem and died on a cross 33 years later, for you and for me – and what it means for each of us – for we are all part of what has been called “The Greatest Story ever told.”

 

For thousands of years – the telling and re-telling of stories, tales, and news were very much a part of the oral tradition.

 

No newspapers, no TV, no internet, of course – and so ‘word of mouth’ was how these things were passed from one region to another.

 

And so the news of Jesus, the carpenters’ son who became the Man from Galilee – was hot news indeed.

 

Tales of his many Miracles, Healings and wise words spread like wild-fire – bringing many to seek Him out and listen to his every word.

 

The crowds gathered wherever and whenever He appeared in public, all searching, all looking for help and understanding and meaning to the issues that life poses for all of us.

 

There are many today who are searching for some meaning to their lives, some way of understanding life, death and everything in between.

 

The eternal statement which echoes down the ages to us today “I am the Way, the `Truth and the Life” is needed as much today as it ever was.

 

In that short statement Jesus tells us –

“I am the Way to wisdom and understanding”

“I will tell you the Truth at all times”

“I offer you Life, in all it’s wholeness – both here and hereafter.”

 

It doesn’t really get any better than that.

 

We live in a world where many have ‘lost their way’ – who are searching for ‘something’ – people are aware of their own spiritual dimension – and try various so-called ‘religions’ in an attempt to find a peace in their lives – a truth in their lives – people flit from one thing to another – never being completely satisfied with what they find.

But Jesus says “you’re looking in the wrong place –

I am the truth – come to me and you will find out what true,  deep peace really is !! I’m telling you the Truth.”

 

We live in a world where “Fake News” is common place – people we thought we could trust will blatantly lie without a blush.

“I mis-spoke” or being ‘economical with the truth’  are term we hear on a regular basis.

 

How refreshing, how reassuring it is to know that there is something, some ONE that we can depend on !

 

Jesus tells us the truth – Jesus is the Truth !!

All He says – all He promises – is all absolutely true.

 

He also said that He is the ‘Life’ –

 

Life is the most precious thing that we have – without it we have nothing.

All the riches – all the possessions – are all worthless if we do not have life.

 

We celebrate it’s arrival – and we mourn it’s passing.

 

“Life is for living” – the saying goes – but sadly many simply exist – with no real quality of life.

 

They live unhappy and unfulfilled lives – going about their daily routine – almost like robots – same thing, different day.

Looking for happiness – looking for fulfilment – but never really finding it.

 

They – and I say “they” – but maybe for some of us it should be “we” – would like something or someone to come along and change our lives – giving us and those close to us a better and more fulfilled life –  or to quote Jesus himself – “I have come that you might have life and in all its fullness”(John 10:10) –  not just an existence – not just mere ‘living’ – but life and to the full.

That’s what we’re promised – that’s what we can have through Jesus – and we can be sure of that because he says ‘I am the life.”

 

Jesus is holding out His hand to you – wanting, willing you to take it and so begin the greatest adventure of your life – as He takes you from what you are now – to who He originally made you to be.

He will reset your life back to the ‘makers’ specifications, if you let Him.

 

It’s a journey which is not for the faint-heated – but I can absolutely promise you that you will not regret a single second of it – and then there’s the promise of being led through those Heavenly Gates at the last, there to live in eternal peace and tranquillity for all time.

 

Who wouldn’t want that?

 

That is there for you – a promise to all who follow His Way.

 

I hope and pray you will take Him at His word because I can absolutely assure you that it is the God’s honest Truth.

 

And that is what I pray for you – and in the name of God’s only Son, our only Hope, Jesus Christ.

 

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of his Holy Word – and may all the Glory and the Praise – be His.

 

Let us pray

Living God,

we praise you for all that is good and precious in human life; the value, potential, and uniqueness of every individual.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those whose humanity is diminished by prejudice and discrimination, subjected to insults, intimidation, hatred and suspicion, day after day denied justice, time and again deprived of the opportunity to prove themselves.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those denied the chance to fulfil their potential, whether through lack of education, insufficient resources, limited opportunities, or a denial of their human rights.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those whose lives are blighted by need, burdened by debt or unemployment, oppressed by poverty, hunger and homelessness, crushed by natural catastrophe or personal disaster.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who have lost belief in their own worth, overwhelmed by self-doubt, beset by inner fears, their confidence broken, their faith in the future destroyed.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who mourn at the loss of loved ones, life suddenly seeming empty of meaning and stripped of joy, and we pray for those who battle against sickness and disease, unable to live life to the full, and fearful as to what the future may hold.

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

Living God,

We pray that you will draw close to those around the world whose lives have been touched by the increase of the Coronavirus. Watch over them and give them your strength in their weakness.

Bless those who work on the frontline of our Health Services  – keep them safe and taken them home safely  to their families at the end of each shift.

 

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

Hear our own, silent prayers, as we sit together for a few moments – each with our own thoughts – each with our own prayer for those whom we know and love………take a few moment to think of someone you know that you would like to pray for – then whisper their name(s) – God hears your words…………..

 

For the family of all people,

Lord, hear our prayer.

For we pray in the name of the one who is the way, the truth and the life everlasting – our dear Lord Jesus Christ, your only son – our only hope.

Amen.

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

 

Can anyone tell me what this is ? – (you can’t see it but I am holding up one half of a pair of scissors).

 

It’s a ‘scissor’ – its not a pair of scissors – but half of a pair of scissors – a ‘scissor’……… it’s about as useful as one leg in a pair of trousers – one hand of a pair of gloves – or one shoe of a pair of shoes (and I once saw a shoe shop with an enterprising young manger who advertised in his window – ‘shoes for sale – by one shoe – get the other free !!’).

 

But one shoe –  one glove – one ‘scissor’ – is only part of a pair – and needs it’s other half to be of use – to be complete.

 

And so it is with us – we are incomplete on our own – we need to work hand in hand with our God – to realize our full potential.

To be of use to Him, to our selves and to others………

We need God in our lives to be complete…….

 

So here’s a thought for us all………

Do you walk hand in hand with your God ??

 

And so live His WAY – and that’s the TRUTH – for the rest of your LIFE….. and that’s a promise – made to you in heaven – reiterated to you this very day.

 

Now isn’t that  a thought !??………

 

BENEDICTION

 

Go now 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 – be with your families and all who you know and love – and ought to love,

This day – and every day.

Amen.

 

Take care and May God Bless you

And your loved ones.

*

Please keep safe

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Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

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And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 

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Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 21st October 2020

21st October 2020

Midweek Meditation

 

Good morning all – I hope this finds you well and managing to keep out of harms’ way.

 

Many of have been asking how Jo is – I am pleased to say that she is making headway but still has a way to go before we can say that she is well – and I’m getting there. We are both feeling washed out with no sense of taste and no appetite (which won’t do my waistline any harm).  We are still in lockdown for another 7 days.

Your many enquiries and offers of help are a great comfort us – thank you so much.

*

Please find a comfy seat, take a deep breath, relax and read through this week Meditation – and I hope and pray that it will give you some food for thought and comfort at this time.

God bless.

*

Have you ever been lost?

 

Not just physically as in “where on earth am I?” Although I am sure we have all been there (wherever it is) and done that.

 

I was thinking more of a feeling of being ‘lost’ – lost your way – feeling a strange sensation of detachment from those round about you and perhaps even life itself.

Maybe life isn’t going as you had planned – or perhaps you are struggling with issues and you don’t know which way to turn.

 

There is a similarity in feeling like this and getting lost in your car on a day out.

You know where you want to go, and you thought you were on the right road, only to find that somewhere, somehow, you have wandered off and now you’re not sure where you are.

It’s easily done – one wrong decision – one moment of indecision – a few bad choices – and we can feel lost and wandering aimlessly.

 

Have I lost you altogether now? J

 

I hope not, because ‘knowing where you want to go’ – and actually ‘getting there’  are two different things.

 

In the book of Exodus we hear about the Israelites fleeing from the Pharaohs’ army. They ran into the wilderness but rather than become lost – ‘two great pillars’ appeared before them which led them out of danger and into safety. These two pillars were with them “both day and night.”

 

Before SatNav’s, the Compass was the one sure way of finding your way home – or at least pointing us in the right direction.

From Ancient mariners to boy Scouts, the compass has been proven to guide and direct men, women and children safely to their destination.

 

When we allow God into our lives, He promises us that He will  not ‘leave or forsake us’ and send His Holy Spirit to be our guide.

It’s like having an inbuilt compass, showing us the right way to go, to live, to follow.

Even today, as we are struggling through the dark clouds or stormy seas of life, more especially with the fears and concerns over the Covid Pandemic – hold on to the Holy Spirit, put your trust in Him and He will give you that inner calm we all need to make the right decisions – and lead us safely through it all – and at the last, in His own time, lead us safely home to our eternal resting place.

How wonderfully comforting is that?

Amen.

 

Let us pray ~

Dear Father, thank you for being beside me each day, guiding and leading me along the right path as I make my way through life. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to be my guide and moral compass, showing me right from wrong allowing me to make the right decisions and choices.

I don’t know what I have ever done to deserve such love from you – but I am SO grateful for your faithfulness to me – may I always prove to be loyal and faithful to you – and in the name of your only Son, our only Hope, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

Psalm 48 : 14 “For God is our God forever, He will be our guide even to the end.”

And ~

Exodus 13 : 21 – 23

21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22 And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.”

Amen.

 

Our God is with each of us by day and by night – showing us the way to go.

I pray that you will follow Him and His ways; and so in doing His will, you will know the many Blessings that He gives to you each and every day.

Amen.

 

Have a good week – take care and God Bless.

And don’t forget to put your clocks BACK one hour on Saturday night.

 

Keep safe folks.

Online Sunday Service – 18th October 2020

APOLOGIES

Good morning all,

I hope this finds you all well and managing to keep safe and well.

May I first apologize for not producing an Audio version of today’s Service but my wife Jo has succumbed to the Coronavirus, having been tested and found to be Positive and has been quite unwell for the past week or so – I have been really worried about her – but she seems to be a bit brighter today.

I am now in a bit of a downward spiral with aching joints, sharp headaches, sore throat and tiredness (or is that just old age!?).

We have both been told to isolate for 12 – 14 days  – so as you can imagine we are both a wee bit under the weather at the moment – but we hope to be up and about before too long

Please find the printed version of the Service copied below.

Hopefully all will be well for the Midweek Meditation on Wednesday 21st, we’ll have to wait and see. I will put out a Reflection to you – it may not be a recorded version depending on how things go.

Your good thoughts and Prayers would be very much appreciated.

Take care folks – and please, please be careful and self protect, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone one of you.

God Bless.

18.10.20

Online Sunday Service

“I am the Good Shepherd”

I hope this finds you all as well as is possible in these circumstances.

Things seem to be getting worse instead of better don’t they? Here’s hoping that if we all consider the welfare of others as well as ourselves, things will begin to get better for us all the sooner.

I invite you to find a comfortable set, relax and take in what God’s message is to you today…

As you may remember we are currently taking a look at some of the “I am” sayings of Jesus – and today we continue that theme.

But before we do that, can I ask you to find a soft seat, close your eyes take a deep breath, let it out slowly– and let us pray together.

 

PRAYER

Holy, Heavenly God of the earth, universe and beyond, we take this time to bring you our praise and our worship. We come to hear your Word to us and to rest in your presence as we soak in all that you would say to us.

We are different people, with different needs and come from different homes, yet we are united in our journey of faith. Wanting to learn and to understand our own role in this amazing story of  a baby who was born in Bethlehem, was to end his life nailed to a cross for me.

Walk beside us as we take each step of understanding, open our minds and our hearts that we might  be able to take it all in.

Forgive each of us, Father, for the times when we have been less than enthusiastic in matters of faith ; encourage and support us when we falter ; hold us close when you see us  begin to weaken and remind us daily of your great love for us.

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

Our Father, who is in heaven,
bless-ed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
May it be on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily needs.

 And help us to forgive others, 

As you forgive us.

Keep us from falling in to temptation;
and deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
the power and all the glory,
for ever.

Amen

Let us read the Word of God ~ as we find it in ~

John 10 : 1 – 14  from the New Living Translation

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

“I tell you the truth, anyone who creeps over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheepAll who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.”

Amen.

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

 

Sermon

As you might remember – our theme is the – ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus .

We looked at the ‘I am the bread of life’ saying 2 weeks ago – last week we heard – ‘I am the light of the world’

And today we have 2 more of these sayings which were said together when Jesus was trying to help the Pharisees understand that He had been sent by God to lead all people in to a safe haven – into God’s eternal kingdom.

Our sayings for today are – as you will have gathered from our Bible reading – I am the good shepherd’ and ‘I am the gate for the sheep – (whoever enters through me – will be saved.)’

We notice that ever since Jesus was born in that byre – Shepherds have played a large part in his life.

And  that ‘pastoral theme’– of a shepherd who cares for his flock – of one who watches over, feeds and nurtures those who follow Him – was to continue right throughout his ministry.

Indeed – it’s a theme which continues to this very day – with the pastor who cares for his ‘flock.’

In some denominations, the minister is called ‘the pastor’.

Of course – it’s not very complimentary for the flock –His followers – to be called ‘sheep’ ! But, as in all of Jesus’s sayings –  it means much more than it actually says.

So let’s have a look – and see what it has to say to us today –

Well – there’s so much in today’s text ! – but if we were to put it in a nutshell – Jesus is saying that just as a shepherd cares for his sheep – Jesus the good shepherd – cares for his flock – those who follow him.

So much so – He says – that He is willing to lay down his life for us – and that’s exactly what He did for you and for me – when He died on the Cross.

And then – He goes on to say that we can all enter God’s kingdom – even people of other faiths – ‘the other sheep’ as Jesus calls them in verse 16.

But if we are to gain access to God – then we have to go through His Son,  He is the gate through which we must all pass and as verse 9 says “anyone who goes through me – will be saved !!”

So this passage should give us all great comfort.

We have someone who watches over us, cares for us – leads us along the right paths (unless we decide to wander off – that is !).

And at the last – we know that He will keep us – and all who follow Him – safe in His loving arms – in the wonderful life that is to come – that is a promise to each one of us.

Perhaps it’s not so bad being called a sheep after all !! –

Here’s a short story which might help us understand the point Jesus was trying to make –

The scene was a party which was being held at the opening night of a Shakespearian play in London.

All the actors were socializing – as well  as some of the ‘behind the scenes’ people.

As the evening wore on – the lead ‘actor’, who was very proud of his beautiful voice, was asked to recite something.

And after very little persuasion  – he said he would recite something he had learned as a young man. It was the 23rd Psalm.

He read it beautifully – his diction was perfect and his lovely welsh lilt  was a joy to hear.

When he had finished – the crowd gave him a rapturous applause  – and he greeted his adoring fans with a slight bow and an almost ‘royal’ wave.

But then a young apprentice who was working on the scenery – asked if he too could recite the 23rd Psalm.

The crown weren’t so keen – but the lead actor gave a condescending smile and said – ‘let the boy have a go’ – and so the young man cleared his throat – and recited the 23rd Psalm with such feeling like the people had never heard before.

When he had finished – he simply said ‘Amen’ and sat down.

There was no rapturous applause  – only a stunned silence and a few sniffles as tears ran down one or two faces…. it had been very moving.

The lead actor came over and said “Well done my boy – that was wonderful – how did you manage to convey such feeling into your voice without the proper training, such as I?” – ‘Well, you see’ said the young man ‘ you know the Psalm – but I know the Shepherd – I am one of his flock !’

I pray that you will come to know the shepherd well enough to know his voice and follow him – and so know the joy which He brings in this life – and the amazing promises which He gives for the next.

I am going to ask you now, to sit for 30 seconds – that’s all – and think about your own faith – your own prayer life – the time you spend reading the Bible – your devotional life –

And then ask yourself this one important question –

 

“How well do I really know the Shepherd who gave His life for me…?

Let us sit for 30 seconds together, now –

 

“How well do YOU  really know that Shepherd who gave His live for you??.

Food for Thought for us all.

Amen.

PRAYER (Thanks giving & Intercession)

Loving God,

We thank you for all your goodness to us, for family, friends, food on our table and a home where we can be safe – and so much more.

Forgive us for taking so many of these things for granted; they make life good for us – we really are blessed in so many ways.

Thank you.

But we know that there are many, aye too many, who do not have these things,  and we bring them to you in our prayers –

The hungry and the homeless – the lost and the lonely, the sick and the grieving – and we particularly pray for the Powell family who were involved in a fatal car accident in Oxford-shire where Mum Zoe, her 3 eldest children, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia were tragically killed, leaving dad Josh and 18 month old baby alive but critical. Draw close the family, we pray, and watch over them as this time. No words can alleviate their grief  – but may they know the love and concern that we, and many others, feel for them.

We also pray for those who are struggling with the lockdown which we are all having to endure to keep ourselves – and others – safe.

We thank you for those frontline workers who put their own lives at risk in order to keep others safe – watch over them and keep them from harm, we pray.

We pray too for our own families and loved ones – keep them under your watchful eye in these troubled times.

Be with them all dear Lord – for we ask it in the name of the one who leads us into a brighter and better life – and gives us His joy and His peace – here and hereafter – our dear Lord and  Saviour – your only son – our only hope –  Jesus Christ.

Amen.

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

Here’s what I call ‘Fascinating Sheep Fact no 143’ –

From that best selling book –

“How much do you know about sheep ??” –

When a sheep rolls over on it’s back – it can’t get itself upright again.

Many sheep die like this as they’re easy prey for foxes and the like.

The only way it can get back on it’s own two feet is if somebody grabs it’s coat and turns it over.

So here’s a thought for the week –

Who do you know that may have taken a tumble and could do with a helping hand to get on their feet again ?

Who will you help up this week ??

Isn’t that a thought !!………

 

BENEDICTION

And now – go in love, hope,  joy and peace –

And follow Jesus throughout  your life………

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

Amen.

 

Take care and May God Bless you

And those you love.

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Please keep safe

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Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

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And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

 

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Online Sunday Service – 4th October 2020

Here is a link to the Sunday Service

 

 

4th October 2020

Audio Online Service

“I am the Bread of Life”

Good morning,

Today should have been our Communion Service in Church but due to the Coronavirus restrictions – sadly we are not able to meet together in fellowship and worship in the church building.

However, that does not mean that we aren’t still a church.

As important as the building is to us, it is we, the people of God, who are the church.

 

As difficult as it is for us, we must remain strong in determination and faith, continuing to worship our wonderful God, persistent in prayer, knowing that we may not be able to meet as we used to, for now, but we are still Brothers and Sisters in Christ, grateful to our Loving Saviour for all His many blessings.

We may have to ‘self-isolate’ but God is not in lockdown.

He is with you wherever you are, just as He always was – loving you as much as He ever did.

You can be absolutely sure of that.

 

Today is also the first day of a trial Audio version of the Sunday Services. I will also print the text version of the Service  for those who send these services on to family and friends – as I know some of you do.

 

I have picked up on comments from a number of you with regard to some zoom-type services which are excellent but can be distracting from the Word and the message. You seem to much prefer to simply sit, close your eyes and listen – so that is what I will endeavour to give you.

 

As you will know I am not very ‘high tech’ so we will have to see how it goes please let me know what you think. Be kind J.

 

So why not sit back and join with us, as we worship God together.

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Over the past few months we have looked at some of the Miracles of Jesus and the Healings of Jesus. Today is the start of a short series on the “I am” sayings of Jesus.

You know, the “I am the Good Shepherd”, “I am the Vine and you are the Branches” and so on.

 

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Our first  look at the ‘I am” sayings of Jesus is to be found in

John 6: verse 26 & 35 where He tells His disciples –

 

V26 – “I tell you the truth, you are not looking for me because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (in reference to the Feeding of the 5,000)

and

V35 – “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never thirst.”

Amen.

 

SERMON

 

That was quite a claim wasn’t it!

“I am – the Saviour – the one who God sends to save you” – Jesus is saying – “Come to me and I will give you all you need for a good and happy life.”

Sounds good –

But notice – He doesn’t promise to give us all that we want !” – but rather – ‘all that we need !’

 

And of course – they are not always the same thing.

 

We know what we want – but God knows what we really need………

 

“We want – the things that feed us and give us pleasure.

Short terms wants

 

But what we really need – is what only Jesus can give us – the faithful, eternal love and care of God himself.

Long term needs.

 

“I  give you what is good, wholesome and necessary to eternal life” He says.

 

I am the Bread which gives true life ……… and in all it’s fullness’ –

 

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Those who were there at the time – would have understood the importance of what Jesus was saying – and His comparison to the bread.

 

Whatever they did – wherever they went – they took with them the ingredients and the means to make bread –

 

They understood the importance of bread – it was at the very heart of their existence.

 

So when Jesus said to them – “I am the bread of life” – they would readily have understood that Jesus was saying that He   – like bread – was absolutely vital to a good and healthy life.

 

And so – this text reminds us that as bread is needed to sustain our physical needs – Jesus – the Bread of Life – is needed to sustain our spiritual needs.

 

With out bread – our bodies wither and  die –

Without Jesus – we are spiritually lifeless too.

 

That’s the usual understanding of this passage.

 

That’s the ‘on the surface’ kind of meaning – if you like – clear and pretty straightforward.

 

But as with much of the Bible – when you scratch the surface, it’s surprising what you find underneath – and so – let’s scratch the surface of this particular text and see what we can find.

 

First of all – we should see this passage in it’s context….

 

In the previous 2 passages – Jesus had just ‘fed the 5,000’ with 5 small loaves (which were a bit like our bread rolls) – and 2 small fish… from a wee boy’s piece box.

 

And He had just walked across the water and climbed in to the boat where His followers were waiting for Him.

2 amazing miracles in quick succession.

 

Amazed and over awed – the people had followed Him  – like a group of fans follow their pop-star hero .

 

And here’s the line which – for me – makes sense of the whole passage – it’s not the reference to the ‘bread’ which catches my attention – it’s    verse 26 of our New Testament reading for this morning……. We hear Jesus saying “I tell you the truth – you’re not looking for me because of the miracles I have done – but because of the food I have put into your stomach!”  (at the feeding of the 5,000)

 

In other words – ‘You’re not bothered about the wonderful  things which God can do for you and your family – in this life and the next – but you follow me as long as I can give you what you want – food in your stomach !”

 

Self-interest – where the people said – ‘I’ll follow you as long as you give me what I want……. Just as long as I don’t have to commit myself to anything!!”…

 

And sadly – aren’t there many who still say that today ? – “Yes, I’d like to be a Christian – just don’t ask me to do too much !!”

 

Isn’t it self-interest that is at the root of all the food shortages in the world ?

 

God made enough food to feed everyone  – the problem is that some eat too much – leaving too little for others.

 

Isn’t it self-interest which is at the root of many of the world’s confrontations ?

Countries have enough land – enough resources – but they want more… and so they take it from others.

 

And isn’t it that same –  self-interested attitude  which causes friction, even conflict between different groups, different religions – and even within the same religion – between different  denominations and churches?

 

It’s the same thinking that causes friction in places such as Palestine and Israel – in India – and Pakistan.

in our own Northern Ireland.

 

Intolerance –  each side – selfishly confident that they  – and only they – are in the right.

 

Each side using religion as a tool – as a weapon with which to beat the other side.

 

Like the followers in our text, many are not interested in the wonders of God,  but in what He can do for them.

 

Wasn’t it John F Kennedy who said in his ‘Berlin’ speech – “We must not ask – what can my country do for me – but rather – what can I do for my country”?

 

Well – to put that into a church context – we must say – the world must say – ‘Not what can my God do for me – but rather – what can I do for my God ?”..

 

So, as we can see – there is much more going on beneath the surface, between the lines of this passage – than first appears.

 

In His simple statement “I am the Bread of Life” He is saying to you and to me –

“Let me feed you with all the good things, promises, assurances, marvels and miracles, blessings and so much more – and all you have to do is let me in to your life and all these things are yours. Be faithful to me and you can be absolutely sure that I will be faithful to you.”

 

An extravagant claim? Well, maybe, but it is more of a promise than a boastful statement.

Allow Him to fill you with His calming, reassuring, life giving presence and your life will never be the same – and that’s a promise.

You will want to ’do what you can for your God’ – because you will see the difference He has made to your life now – and the

wonderful assurance that there IS a place of peace and tranquillity waiting for you when this journey comes to an end  – and that’s a promise too!

 

His divine love will sustain you throughout your life – helping you through the difficult times – uplifting you when all around seems bleak – times that we all face, like the present pandemic. Being filled with His presence gives us a new look on things, a new outlook to be able to deal with whatever life throws at us.

 

And all this is promised – when you open your mind and your heart and let Him in.

 

That’s what I pray for each of you –

 

And I pray for you

 

In Jesus’ precious name.

 

AMEN.

 

Let us Pray –

Holy, Heavenly Father, we bring you our thanks for all your promises to us – promises made – promises kept.

 

We pray for our world and each person who inhabits it – all created in your image.  Bless us all, and our families, as we live out each day with the hope of  being blessed with health and happiness.

We pray for the sick and the bereaved, hold them close, we pray, until the light shines once more for them and they can see a way ahead.

 

Forgiving Father – we pray for your forgiveness for all the times we have faltered on our journey of faith, putting the trappings of the world before you.

We know we are far from perfect but we ask for your guidance and support as we endeavor to put our old ways behind us live that new life that you promise will be ours, when we accept you fully into our lives.

Hear our Prayers, for we bring them to you in the name of your only Son, our only hope, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

5 Things you never hear in Church

 

 

  1. Hey! It’s MY turn to sit on the front pew!

 

  1. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went over by time 25 minutes.

 

  1. I love it when we sing hymns I’ve never heard before!

 

  1. I going to volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Sunday School class.

 

  1. Since we’re all here, let’s start the worship service early!

 

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Faith is a serious business – but it should never be boring!

J

 

Food for thought.

 

AMEN.

 

AND WE CLOSE OUR SERVICE WITH THE HYMN  – WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS – SING ALONG IF YOU WISH.

 

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