Opening Prayer – Father God, we come before you this morning in praise, thanksgiving and adoration. As we lift our praises to you, we thank you for the gifts you give to songwriters old and new, for the many memories they create and the meanings they contain as we worship you. Amen
Welcome to our first Songs of Praise here at church, often we have gone to the home of Neil and Helen to sing our songs of praise for which we have always greatly appreciated the hospitality, fellowship and wonderful playing of Neil – plus the afternoon tea added by Helen!!!
As you may know the church is trying out how we can be church every week and for those months with 5 weeks we try and do something a little different! Hence our service today – so thank you to everyone who has chosen a favourite hymn – hope we’re not too hoarse after singing 8 of them this morning!
I promised Francoise I would not be doing a ‘sermon’ but just say a few words here and there together with bible readings for some of the chosen songs!
As I was planning the service, it became obvious that there is a link with the learning that we are experiencing now with Martin, what is church?
In one of Martin’s earlier sessions, we concluded that church is a community of those called out to do God’s will which made me think about when Jesus called out his first disciples
Bible Reading – Matthew 4 :18-22
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
‘The Chosen’ is a new online filming of Jesus life on earth and this particular scene is so moving! I’m watching it now and it just so brings Jesus and his teachings to ‘life’!
When Jesus began his teaching ministry, he began to gather those who would hear his teaching and then preach the message themselves. They would witness the many miracles he performed and then be witnesses to testify to them.
He went to the sea of Galilee, amongst the fishermen, normal working people, not priests, not educated professionals, not legal executives.
He chose these disciples to share God’s love in Christ with the entire world.
And God’s message through them has changed the history of the world and led to the establishment of the church
God chooses us to change us, and for us to then be an agent of change wherever we live, work or travel!
By his grace he has chosen us to BELIEVE in him as our Lord and Saviour, to STAND firm in the truth of His word, in spite of the wicked opposition in the world, to SERVE Him through loving those around us, and to faithfully and joyfully FOLLOW wherever he leads us.
Opening Hymn – I’ve chosen because it encompasses for me many of these callings
1. Opening Hymn: Here I Am Lord – 857
2. Diane’s choice - And Can It Be – 33
Romans 6:17-18 - Sue
Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed
Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness
I look at many of these wonderful lines of truth in this hymn, BUT the ones Diane shared with me when she asked for this hymn were:
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth, and followed thee!
ANOTHER LINK TO GOD CALLING US TO FOLLOW HIM
Charles Wesley wrote this hymn to celebrate the “amazing love” he had come to know just after he found his faith in God!
Thank you, Lord, that we can still experience your amazing love in our lives!
What do we know about Charles Wesley, his influences and his parents?
Every morning and evening I use an app on my phone to read God’s word, pray and learn many things – it’s from an English church called 24/7 Prayer and is called Lectio 365
You can either read the daily verses and prayers or you can listen to it being read by one of the leaders of the church! Its brilliant when sometimes last thing at night and I’m too tired to read – just to relax and listen!
This week, co-incidentally, there was a focus on Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley.
She was a formidable leader long before her sons rose to fame. She endured a difficult marriage to a preacher who was imprisoned twice! Her husband was a rector of their parish church in Epworth, but he was sent to prison for financial mismanagement. Their home was burned down twice and very tragically nine of their nineteen children died in infancy. She raised their remaining ten children single-handedly, seeing motherhood as a vocation from God.
With nowhere at home to pray very privately – and I would imagine she needed to pray very much for her difficult situation – she was often found with her apron over her head! The children quickly learned that mum was not to be disturbed when they saw her in this unusual posture! But she would pour out her heart to God, no doubt mourning her lost babies, praying for her infuriating husband and praying for each of her remaining children individually.
Her husband’s replacement in the pulpit failed miserably to preach the gospel so she took matters into her own hands!
She started a Sunday school for her own children in her kitchen, it attracted so many of her neighbours that it had to be moved into the barn. Before long, 200 people were gathering every Sunday to worship, to pray and to listen to Susanna reading sermons.
She developed into a world-class leader, educator and prayer warrior but her mission was always firstly to her own family and her neighbourhood. She devoted herself tirelessly to this task, praying faithfully for those ten children, teaching them all diligently, giving the three boys and 7 girls the same education for six hours a day. She also gave an hour of exclusive time to each child each week.
She was a housewife with a hard life from a small town in rural England but she became known as the mother of some eighty million Methodists in more than 130 nations today! The example of faith and religious reverence she set for her children inspired John and Charles to become powerful spiritual leaders, and to launch the Methodist movement
Praise God for Susanna’s calling!
3. Trevor’s Choice - Meekness & Majesty - 465
Ephesians 3 :14-21
A Prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
He’s got the whole world in his hands - 225
Psalm 24 – Marie-Helen to read
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it
The world, and all who live in it,
For He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters
Lord God, You created our beautiful planet – it is your gift for us to share but Father you also gave us the responsibility to care for, and to protect your world. Forgive us Lord for not owning this responsibility
As creation groans with the pollution of land, air and seas, with the effects of climate change, with the abuse and exploitation of the earth, help us Lord to make every effort we can to make a difference.
Lord in your mercy - hear our prayer
5. Neil’s Choice
When I survey the wondrous cross – 755
Neil’s words - Isaac Watts is the epitome of hymn-writing hero's, showing that the meaning of the words transcends the generations, definitely as real now as 300 years ago!
6. Helen’s choice
God Is Working His Purpose Out - 189
7. Dear Lord & Father of mankind - 111
Sheryl’s choice because of such great memories of the first hymn sang at her wedding to Bob in 1984
8. FINAL HYMN - Pam's Choice
How Great Thou Art – 506
What a wonderful hymn to finish our praises to God!
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also freely give to us all things!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Psalm 8:1-9 – Helen
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]
5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honour.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[g] feet:
7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Final Prayer - Sue
Lord God how truly great you are!
Psalm 86 tells us
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvellous deeds;
you alone are God.
Father God, we ask that Your Holy Spirit will help our church to focus our priorities on sharing Your good news, welcoming everyone to come to know Jesus our Saviour, and to experience just how great You are!
Using one of Susanna Wesley’s prayers as our own we say together
Help us Lord to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church, but that everywhere we go, we are in Your presence
May our every word and action have a moral content
May all the happenings of our lives prove useful and beneficial to others and to You
May everything, I encounter, give me an opportunity to learn daily and grow into Your likeness
The Lord’s Prayer - All
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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
The power and the glory
For ever and ever. Amen.
The Grace - All
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.