Online Sunday Service – 7th February 2021

 

SUNDAY SERVICE 7.2.21

Good morning folks, I hope you are well and warm this morning. Please find this week’s Sunday Service below. I do hope that you can take time to make yourself a cuppa, find a comfy seat, relax and listen to today’s message.

Take care, keep safe and God Bless. Iain

 

Audio Version

Printed Version

7th February 2021

Online Sunday Service 

“Who do you think you are…?

 

Good morning – how are you today?

Welcome to our online Sunday Service for the 7th February 2021.

 

I hope that you are well and coping with the ongoing restrictions.

And I believe there’s a forecast for snow here in Scotland, so be sure and take extra care if you have to go out.

Well we ARE in Scotland in Winter!

 

Today we are taking a look at a well known saying of Jesus – “I am the Vine” and as you might see from the medieval image on screen – with Jesus in the centre – the Vine – and the vine leaves growing out each  – and if you look closely you will see that each one is different, each one blossoming, growing in it’s own way, just as we are.

And do you see the 12 doves on the Cross? – they represent the 12 disciples.

So full of imagery and symbolism.

 

And as we have heard before – these sayings of Jesus still have much to say to us in our everyday lives, here and now – aye, but what?

 

Before we get to that, let us pray ~

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

We come from our different homes to unite our hearts in our praise of you.

 

You are the God of night and day – of joy and sadness – of sunshine and rain –

You are the God of all we see and all that we have yet to be aware of.

What an amazing God you are !

 

We  come to you in awe and wonder – like children looking up at a loving and caring parent – we feel comfortable in your presence – and at home knowing you are always with us – safe when we realise that you are watching over us.

 

You guide us and support us – and even although we so often wander off in other directions – you coax us back on to the right paths – only to see us take the wrong road once again.

 

We thank you for forgiving us when we do and say things which are against your will – for when we say one thing and do another – for when we promise to live YOUR way and ACT in accordance with your plans – but  then follow our own ways and do what WE think is right – and we thank you for showing us your patience, your mercy and your grace when we least deserve it.

Continue, we pray, to show us that incredible love – fill us  with your Holy Spirit so that we might feel the changing influence that it brings into our lives –  and so live better and more devoted lives – focused on you and your people – our brothers and sisters who need help and support – those who need to hear of the love that Jesus has for them. Bless them, bless us loving Lord, as we pray in Jesus’ name………

Hear us now as we take a short time to bring you our personal prayers of confession for the things we know we have said, done and thought which we which we know are not in accordance with your ways.

Hear us now then, as we gather all these thoughts together – and bring them to you – in our silent prayers……………… ……………………………………..

Forgive us father – bless us with your mercy and your Grace, we pray.

 

Hear our prayer Lord, and hear us now as we pray together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – 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 for this morning are ~

 

1st KINGS 19 : 1 – 5 (a)    &    John 15 : 5 – 12

 

If you have a Bible to hand, then why not join me and read with me as I read from ~

 

1st  Kings 19 : 1 – 5   New International Version

 

Let us listen to Gods word ~

Elijah Flees to Horeb

19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal severely with me, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life the same as of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.”

And now from John’s Gospel –

 

John 15 : 5 – 12    New International Version

 

The Vine and the Branches

15 Jesus said –

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.”

Amen.

This is the word of the Lord thanks be to God

 

SERMON

Have you ever seen that programme – “Who do you think you are?” where celebrities research their families trees to find our who their ancestors were?

 

Well, apparently  there is now a trend

where many of us are now going online to try to find out who our ancestors were.

 

Have you ever thought of researching your own family tree ?? – you never know – you might find you’re related to someone really famous ! – but then again  you might be related to someone who committed some awful crime  !

Wouldn’t that be a surprise!?

 

I’ve been doing some research during lockdown and found out that my maternal Grandfather was from Newtonards, Belfast – and was a sailor – he spent all his days at sea –

and although I never met him – maybe that’s where I got my wanderlust to see the world – and my call to join the Royal Navy.

All l ever wanted to do when I left school, was to go to sea.

 

And I believe that some of my ancestors – the Mac Gillivray’s – were – many years ago – sheep stealers near Foyers by Loch Ness !!

But I don’t tell too many people about that !!

 

To many – our ancestors are an important part of our heritage – but to others, they’re just people we never really knew.

In our Old Testament reading we heard how Elijah had to run for his life for fear of being killed – and how he sat – exhausted, afraid and dejected,  saying “I’ve had enough Lord – take my life – I am no better than my ancestors”

He obviously didn’t think much of his ancestors – and so he didn’t think much of himself.

 

He believed that the way he had acted in killing all the prophets of Baal (BALE) with his sword was something that was ‘in his genes’ and felt that there was nothing he could do to stop himself – and so asked God to take his life.

“I am no better than my ancestors”

 

Sometimes it’s easy for us to blame others for our own behaviour – but we have to take responsibility for our own actions.

 

If we were affected by our ancestors behavior, then many of us would still be stealing sheep or being sent to Australia for pinching a loaf of bread !!

 

In our  N.T. reading we heard Jesus saying –  “I am  the vine” – and you (that’s us by the way) are the branches.

 

It tells us that anyone whoever believes in God, through Jesus, will become part of His ‘family’ – no matter our background or where we came from, no matter who our ancestors were – whether they were faithful believers or sheep stealers !!

 

Let    me    explain.

What matters now is our belief– our faith – right here, right now !

 

Of course our families are important to us – but to God – to Jesus – it doesn’t matter if your great granny was a music hall dancer  – or if your great uncle was carried off to Australia – what matters is your faith.

 

If it’s true and genuine – if you believe in the love of God and the ability to be saved by Jesus – then you will be grafted on to ‘the vine’ and so become part of the family tree of Jesus Christ.

 

Someone once said to me that “we are all members of the clan Jesus” – an unusual way of putting it – but I think I know what she meant – that wherever we are, as believers, we are all part of God’s family – part of the family tree of Jesus.

 

The faithful believers throughout the ages are our ancestors – our spiritual ‘family tree’

We have a rich heritage – a strong family bond.

Jesus is the main stem – we are the branches.

We are grafted on to Him – and we receive life and nourishment through Him.

 

We have His spiritual D.N.A. in us – and so has everyone who believes in Him – no matter their past.

 

This is the Good News that we hear so much about.

Great news for those who feel weighed down by their past – for when we become one of His family – we are cleansed, renewed and forgiven.

 

You see – Jesus is for everyone – no-one is exluded – all are included –

your past is behind you – your future is ahead of you.

Absolutely assured – thanks to your faith and God’s  loving kindness and compassion.

 

Sounds good to me –

 

But if you aren’t part of His family – don’t worry, you soon can be!

Accept Jesus into your life – in to your heart – and you will belong to His family – with a proud ancestry of hero’s – aye and a few villains along the way – but all drawing love, joy, hope and faith – and much more – from our eternal Father.

 

So,

“Who do you think you are !?” –

 

One of God’s children !!

That’s who you are – it’s who I am too –

And all the Father’s blessings and all His promises are  absolutely assured !!

How marvelous, how wonderful, is that!?

 

And all, in Jesus‘ precious name.

 

Amen.

 

Here’s a wee Food for Thought for us to think about through the coming week and beyond.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

It’s a true story.

Many  years ago when our Queen was just a small girl – she was walking out in the grounds at Balmoral – when an old game-keeping saw her and approached her. He hadn’t realized who she was as he asked her ”Hello, and what is your name?”  The little princess said “I can’t properly remember – but I know that my father is the King!”

 

You and I can say the same thing!

Our Father is the King – He is the King of all Kings – He is our Heavenly Father, and we are his children.

I’d say that makes us pretty special – wouldn’t you??

 

But here’s a question – are we living our lives in a manner worthy of our high status?

Are we – you and I “loving others as our Heavenly father Loves us?   I pray that we are….

 

Now that is Food for thought for each of us.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

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

Amen

May God bless you –and your families.

*

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

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

*

 “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10