Online Sunday Service – 6th September 2020

Sunday Service – 6th September 2020

Good morning all. Please find this weeks Sunday Service copied below, if you would like to read it.

I know that many of you are busy people – but taking time to re-boot, re-cover and re-group in a busy life is very important. Every Sunday morning I invite you to join me for a cup of tea or coffee (it’s too early for anything stronger!) pull up a comfy seat, take a long, deep breath and have a read of the Sunday Service, and the Midweek Meditation on a Wednesday morning.

A few weeks ago – a lovely lady messaged me with the kind words – “Oh Mr Ramsden, I just love your Midweek Medications!” J Bless.

I don’t claim to be a Doctor, of course not,  but some say that the whole experience of relaxing and reading the services, gives them a tonic for the rest of the week.

So, relax and enjoy as we continue with our wee series of ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’

 

 

 

 

6th September 2020

Online Service

Miracles (3)

I hope this finds you well and coping, despite the current difficult situation we find ourselves in.

As the comedian Alexei Sayle once said “it’s a funny old world isn’t it?” – and so it is.

Many of the things used to take for granted have changed, maybe forever. Numerous places we always felt were safe and secure to visit are now places to avoid.

Life itself is precarious, where even a trip to the shops could bring danger home to our loved ones.

 

In our Lesson for today we hear of Jesus calling His disciples into service.

Their lives were never to be the same, changed beyond all recognition – but on this occasion – for the better.

So too can ours…

But before that  – let us pray…

PRAYER

Lord we come together on this Lord’s day…. the day which we set aside to worship and to praise you… to sing our praises to you – to re-affirm our commitment to you and to each other – the day we come to learn more about your ways, to hear your word to us and look to discover what you want us to do in response to it….

Remind us that this day is a very special day – the day that you created – the day you rested after you created the world and all that is in it……… the day – YOUR day – in which we take time to remember all you have done for us – a day in which we give thanks for our families and friends – a day when we stop for a short while to see the many blessings that you provide for us every day.

Remind us too that amid our busy lives – taking time to be with you everyday is SO important – time to talk over our problems – time to listen for your voice as we share our worries and concerns with you – time to give you thanks and the glory for all that you are kind enough to provide for us.

Lord we know that you love us – even although we often seem unlovable – even although our belief in you isn’t always backed up by a strong and unquestionable faith in you…….

even although we speak of our love for you with our lips – yet we so often fail to put that love for you – for others –  into practice…

You are a wonderfully patient God –

a wonderfully tolerant God… a God who knows all our weaknesses – yet loves us still…. oh that WE could learn to be patient and tolerant with those who annoy and upset us – oh that we could learn to love those who we hold grudges against – oh that we could be more like Jesus………….. Forgive us Father – encourage our belief in you so that it might become a strong and comforting faith – faith in you – faith in Jesus – faith in ourselves to live His way – so that others might see Jesus in me and so be drawn to knowing Him for themselves –

Bless us with your mercy and your grace we pray – bless us now as we sit for a few moments – looking back over the past week – with all its ups and downs – relaxing in your presence – enjoying your company and the friendship and companionship of my church family around me – hear my silent prayer as I ask for your comfort and your peace – and that your holy presence will be with me in the week ahead – in whatever lies before me – give me the assurance that there is nothing I need fear  – for you are beside me – – walking with me – loving me – encouraging me – all in Jesus’ name…………. pause………

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.

OUR READING THIS MORNING COMES FROM

LUKE’S GOSPEL AND IS A WELL KNOWN READING TO US.

IT TELLS US OF THE CALLING OF THE FISHERMEN – THOSE FIRST DISCIPLES.

IT’S ABOUT FISHERMEN AND FISH – RIGHT?

BUT MAYBE THERE’S MORE TO THIS THAN MEETS THE EYE –

LET’S HEAR IT FOR OURSELVES ~

 

Luke 5 : 1 – 11 – from ‘GOD’S WORD’ Translation

Jesus performs a miracle as He calls His first Disciples.

“One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him as they listened to God’s word. Jesus saw two boats on the shore. The fishermen had stepped out of them and were washing their nets. So Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowd from the boat.

When he finished speaking, he told Simon, “Take the boat into deep water, and lower your nets to catch some fish.”

Simon answered, “Teacher, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll lower the nets again.”

After the men had done this, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. Their partners came and filled both boats until the boats nearly sank.

When Simon Peter saw this, he knelt in front of Jesus and said, “Leave me, Lord! I’m a sinful person!” Simon and everyone who was with him were amazed to see the large number of fish they had caught. 10 James and John, who were Zebedee’s sons and Simon’s partners, were also amazed.

Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will catch people instead of fish.”

11 Simon and his partners brought the boats to shore, left everything, and followed Jesus.”

Amen.

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

SERMON

Have you noticed how children seem to love hearing the same old familiar stories ? – they know each line – they know how it finishes.

Well – our reading from the New Testament for this morning is a bit like that.

We have heard it many times – we know what happens – and we know what it’s all about…….don’t we ??

Fishing for fish – fishing for people.

What’s not to understand !? –

It’s about following Jesus – right ?

Well – yes – that is what it’s about – but it’s also about something far deeper than that !!

And this morning – we’re going to scratch a wee bit deeper – to what else this well known story about fish and fishermen has to tell us.

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Well – to put it in to perspective – we are continuing our look at the miracles of Jesus.

A couple of weeks ago we heard about his first miracle – the changing of the water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee.

Today we see Him moving on – beginning a new chapter – as He realizes that if He is to accomplish all that He was called to achieve – then He would have to enlist the help of ordinary, everyday people to help him – ordinary, everyday people – like you and I.

Where is the miracle in that? You might be thinking……

Well – read on….

Jesus knew that people work better – when they work together.

And it’s interesting to note that the version that we read this morning – Luke’s version – differs from that of Matthew and Mark.

They call this passage – ‘the calling of the fishermen’ – while Luke calls it ‘the calling of the first Disciples’.

Perhaps Luke saw that just as the changing of water into wine – wasn’t just about the wine – it’s about the transforming power of Christ.

So this passage isn’t just about the fish.

It’s about taking seriously the words of Jesus – and amazing things happen, things we might imagine to be impossible.

It’s about trusting in Jesus enough to do what he says.

It’s about a belief that when Jesus says He can do something – He can – and He does.

It’s about a faith which allows us to put our trust in Him.

It’s about realizing that Jesus changes lives – your life and mine, if we open our hearts and our minds, and let Him.

It’s about making a commitment to Christ who will repair, renew, restore and reset your life back to the way it was always meant to be – back to the default position – before all that other stuff was added and it became burdensome.

It’s about receiving all that – enjoying all that – and it’s about sharing all that – with others.

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And so in this passage – we see Jesus taking  His message out to the people – to engage them ‘where they were’ – into the streets, the beaches, the hills and fields – to where the people lived and worked – out-with the formality of the established church – and into their everyday lives.

This was a style adopted by the great John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist movement. He would ride from place to place on his horse – preaching in fields – or town square – or wherever the people were gathered – bringing them the good news of Jesus Christ.

“A comfortable church is all very well” – he famously said – “but there’s nothing like ‘field preaching’ for saving souls!”.

And that’s at the very heart of this passage – at the very heart of the mission of Jesus.

We are not called to a comfy–cosy kind of faith which doesn’t test or strengthen us.

We’re not called to a faith which involves keeping it to ourselves.

But we are called to a faith of caring and sharing –

Coming to know the love and goodness of Christ for yourself– and then going out and bringing others to him – so that He might work his miracle of saving their souls.

And that’s why He called those first Disciples and others who were to follow – to know His love and to bring people in to Him.

That’s why He has called us – you and I – to save our precious souls – and through us – save many more, into his glorious kingdom, for all eternity.

And to illustrate this point – Jesus used the miracle of the fish – to explain the miracle of saving souls.

(so, here’s the miracle!)

“Listen to me – do what I say” Jesus is saying “and your life will improve a hundred fold – and more”.

And He was also saying ~

“Did you notice – that you weren’t able to do very much on your own – but when you listened to me – when you obeyed my command – you were able to do extraordinary things – your catch was so amazing that you had to call others to help you bring it in!

I will call others to help you bring in men, women and children to me.   Do not be afraid.

But now – let’s get to it – time is running out” –

And they left their nets and followed him.

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So, as we see – this isn’t just about the fish.

The fish were a tool – a ‘device’ if you like – to show the transforming – miraculous power of Christ – just like the wine had been.

I suppose there is nothing quite like a miracle to get the attention of the people!

It shows that when we put our faith into the saving hands of Jesus – amazing – unbelievable things can and do happen – and He wants us to play our part in sharing that brilliant news with other people.

People like our families and friends – and who wouldn’t want that for our loved ones and those closest to us ?

But Jesus wants us to ‘cast our nets’ even wider than that – to include everyone we meet.

“Okay……” You might be thinking “but how do we go about doing that!? – I’m not really up for waving a bible and shouting ”halleluiah” in my local Morrisons!”

We think that sharing our faith is beyond us – but you know – it couldn’t be easier – as the children might say – ‘it’s easy peasy’!

We don’t need to get a soap box and stand on it – harassing and haranguing passers by – we don’t need to bash people on the head with the Bible – or become smiley, “holy” people .

We just need to be ourselves.

We just need to live the faith that we profess.

It’s by our words – our actions – our conduct and our character – that we draw people to Christ.

It’s by the everyday things we do and say – it’s by making sure people know that you are a person of faith – and encouraging them – in small, yet meaningful ways – to see how it has changed your life – and allowing them to see that such a faith can change their lives too.

It’s by offering to say a prayer for them when things are tough.

It’s by buying a bible for the grandchildren on their birthdays, even if their parents don’t take them to church.

It’s by setting an example to those you meet – it’s by taking our role as ‘ambassadors of Christ’ seriously.

And it’s about not being ashamed or embarrassed about our faith.

It’s not just about being “nice” – it’s about wanting to share the peace, joy and love that your faith brings – to others.

We are the face and hands of Jesus in the world.

People don’t see Jesus – but they do see you and they see me!

Aye, but  –  what do they see?

And I ask that because – what they see in us – as individuals – is the only image of Jesus they may ever see – and so we have a responsibility to make sure we show a consistent and accurate portrayal of Him – the one who loves each one of us – the one who gives us new life – the bible tells us – and in all it’s fullness.

That’s what we share with others – when we share our faith.

It won’t always be easy – you won’t always be popular – life won’t always be a ‘walk in the park’ – but the rewards, the promises, the assurances and the prize which await those who are faithful – those who follow Jesus when He calls – will be, quite literally – ‘out of this world’!!

And that is a promise.

So we see that this well known passage has much more to say to us than at first meets the eye.

Jesus is saying that if we want to call ourselves his followers – then we have to live by His rules – not our own……..

we have to step up and step out.

But – are we willing to do that??

I hope and pray that we are, and so shed, hope, joy, peace and light, in an ever darkening world.

The rewards which are promised to us are beyond all our imagining –

Does all this sound amazing?

Well, that’s because it is!!

And it’s 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.

PRAYER

Living God,

we thank you that you are a God who hears and answers prayer, and we praise you for those times when you have responded to us and granted our requests.

But we confess that there are times, too, when you seem silent, when, listen though we might, we cannot hear your voice.

And so we pray now for all who cry to you but who feel their prayers are unanswered.

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

 We think of those known to us facing difficult times — those going into hospital – those battling with illness, wrestling with depression, anxious about the future, grieving for loved ones —those for whom life seems a puzzle, even a burden, and who long to find hope to make some sense out of their confusion.

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

We think of the poor and the weak,

the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society —those denied their rights, their dignity, their freedom, their livelihoods —all who long for a time when justice will be established but who have given up believing it ever shall be.

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

Living God,

we are conscious that so many in our world cry out to you yet seem to receive no answer —some because they do not expect to receive any, some because they are not ready or willing to listen, some because they do not understand what you are saying, but many genuinely and urgently longing to hear your voice, to see your face in their lives – yearning for some response.

Speak to them, we pray.

Do not keep silent, show yourself to them –  reach out into their pain and hurt, their need and hopelessness, and bring your word of comfort, of peace, of healing, love and renewal.

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

 We  pray for a peace in the world…… in all the many places where war and conflict continue… we pray that peace will prevail and so save the needless death of thousands of everyday people like ourselves.

We pray for the politicians and the warmongers that they may see the need for faith rather than fire-arms – for dialogue rather than death……………….

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

Lord we ask that you be with us now as we sit together, in silence, for a few moments, each with our own thoughts, each with our own prayer  as we  bring our loved ones to you in our silent prayers…………………

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you.

Be with all for whom we have prayed Lord – and with all who need your hand upon them –  for we bring them before you in the name of the one who faced many difficulties – so that we might know the wonder of God –

Lord, in your mercy,  – hear us, and all who pray to you –

For we pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ, your only Son, our only Hope.

Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

Our thought for the week is in the form of a Poem – and in the light of our Sermon this morning, I don’t think it needs any explanation, see what you think ~

It’s a wee bit long, but stick with it ~

When Jesus Looks   by C Valesco

When Jesus looks upon my life,
What picture does He see?
Does He see His own reflection,
Or does He just see me?

Does He see His likeness,
The product of His hand.
Or just another Christian,
Who never took a stand.

Does He see a child of God,
A child that He set free.
Living life to honor Him,
Or does He just see me.

What about the other folks,
I meet along the way.
Do I show them Jesus,
To brighten up their day.

When someone looks into my eyes,
Can they truly see.
That calm and gentle peace of God,
That lives inside of me.

When I reach out and shake a hand,
Is He right there in my grip.
Can they feel that strength from God,
That steadies when I slip.

When folks are in my presence,
Do they know His Spirit’s there?
Can they see that He’s the one,
Who guides me everywhere.

When other people think of me,
What is on their mind?
Do they think of Jesus Christ,
So gentle and so kind.

I try to be like Jesus,
Every single day.
Spreading love and kindness,
All along my way.

Now I try to be like Him,
I must present Him well.
So other folks will want His gift,
And turn their backs on hell.

Other folks should see the joy,
That Christ has given me.
They should want to have it too,
Especially since it’s free.

They should begin to ask me,
What is it they must do.
Just how it is they go about,
Getting Jesus too.

Then I get to tell them,
This wondrous gift is free.
It only takes a humble heart,
A prayer on bended knee.

Someday when I’m face to face,
With the Lord who set me free.
Will He see His own reflection,
… Or will He just see me?…

Food for thought for us all.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

And now – go in Love , Hope– Joy and Peace –

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 you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen.

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Take care and May God Bless you

And those who you love.

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Keep safe

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

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Some of you will know that I am currently serving as Locum  in Kilmacolm Old Kirk.

It is a beautiful church with a small, renovated 13th century Chapel, called The Murray Chapel.

If you are interested you should go to Kilmacolmoldkirk.co.uk

and take the ‘Virtual Tour’ – I am sure you will find it most interesting.

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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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