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If you are pushed for time, on this page we provide a bite-sized version of the sermon in this week's service

25th February - Do It Now!

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As part of our Lent journey Rev Dawn Brown asked us how we receive and respond to visitors. Do we give of our best, laying out the crockery reserved for important occasions and serve a special cake or do we hope that they won't stay long?

 

When God in the form of Jesus, came to visit us on Earth He received different reactions. Some people accepted Him with open arms and gave Him everything, whilst others saw Him as a threat and eventually got rid of Him. Sadly, as it was then, it would be the same if He had chosen to come down from heaven in our time today. Some people would welcome Him fully whilst others would be less wholehearted and try and fit Him into their busy schedules, committing themselves to give Him only a limited amount of their time.

 

But as we continue our journey through Lent we come to realise that when God comes to us He comes bringing His all. So how do we respond to the fact that in a few weeks’ time at Easter we will experience Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for us on the Cross? Will we give of ourselves, regardless of cost as we respond to this very special visitor?

 

Back then, the disciples and the Jews were waiting for a political Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression but that wasn't God's plan then or now. We need to remember that Jesus wants us to put others before our own needs and be ready to die to the values of this world.

 

And the time to do it is now - don't put it off until later! Put what God wants first in your life and express your faith because that's what it means to be a Christian.

Enjoy this service here in full:

18th February - Proclaim His Name 

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Today Rev Alf Waite discussed the horrors and depravity of this world, like Oct 7th last year and the murder of Alexei Navalny just last week. In Mark Ch 13 Jesus speaks of the signs that will be seen at the end of time itself. That is not to say that current events are part of that time but vs 17 stresses how dreadful such things are for families.

 

Unlike the other Gospels, St Mark spends little time talking about the end of the world. His emphasis is to tell about Jesus' death and resurrection because it's through His selfless act of love for us that we are saved. Only in Jesus is our hope and encouragement found! It's the essence of what Mark is teaching.

 

Sometimes the purposes of God and the pains of the world cross and Christians have to stand in that place because notwithstanding persecution, God needs a remnant to survive and carry His message. For example, when the Berlin wall came down, young people who became Christians had done so through their grandparents who had kept the faith alive during communism.

 

We are called to pray in times of suffering because it's only through Jesus that change and healing can come and we need to trust that God's presence will enable us to endure such times. 1 Peter Ch 3 vs 15 teaches believers to revere Jesus because He knows what it is to live a human life.

 

Lent is a good time to reflect on our faith. Christianity is in decline in the West, so we need to witness Jesus in whom we believe and what He has done for us. Pray for guidance, listen to what God wants and be prepared to proclaim His Name, the answer for the hope that's in us.

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11th February - Trust in God

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Rev Jenny Porterpryde spoke of our need to trust in God and that He will protect us as she related the famous story of Daniel in the lion's den told in Daniel Ch 6. The context here is that although Daniel is a hostage held at the court of Darius, King of Persia, he has become a trusted servant held in high regard by the King who clearly cares about him.

 

However, Daniel's popularity has made him a target of the Persian hierarchy who, knowing that Daniel prays to God three times a day, set a trap to kill Daniel by inflating Darius' pride into legislating that worship of anyone other than the King is punishable by death.

 

So that's how Daniel ends up being cast to the lions and Darius spends all that night worrying about the outcome.

 

We too live in a world where there are evil influences and Christians are not immune from persecution but Psalm 91 entreats us to trust in God, safe in the knowledge that we are always in His care and that we can be sure of His protection.

 

Please remember this coming week and every week that trusting in God we have hope of eternal life and that God holds you in His love and will keep you safe.

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4th February - Priorities

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Today Local Preacher Judy Tasker asked us to think about our priorities in life, to whom and what we give special attention to.

 

With this in mind we read Mark Ch 1 vs 29 - 39 and it is clear in this, the earliest of the gospels, written around 40 years after Jesus' three year ministry on Earth, that Mark's priority is to record without preamble or deviation the Good News of Jesus, who He was and what He had taught about God.

 

In this passage, Jesus cures Simon Peter's mother-in-law so that she could resume her work of service to Him and her family now that Peter had resigned his profession as a fisherman to follow Jesus' call. Her priority became to help Jesus because He had helped her and we are then told that He then goes on to cure many others who had come to the house.

 

What priorities can we learn from this? Firstly, it's that Jesus was never too tired or too busy to help people when they brought their problems to Him and He did that regardless of anyone's race, gender or their position in society. We need to do the same.

 

And next, we need to set time aside for prayer and meditation, not just to list our needs, which God knows before we ask Him, but to listen for His voice.

 

As the season of Lent approaches, we should make time to meet with others to consider the Scriptures and what they are telling us we need to do, here and now in our time and in our communities.

Enjoy this service here in full:

28th January -Opportunity Knocks

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This week Worship Leader Gwyneth Walsham discussed how a visit to the Doctor had led to an unexpected admission to hospital and had provided her with a renewed confidence in the goodness of God together with an opportunity to express her faith with others.

 

Whilst going through triage Gwyneth had lost the cross she always wore, not once but twice! The first time had been bad enough but on the second occasion she had been moved to another ward so had had to involve half the hospital in searching for it! Many prayers were said but luckily, or through Providence, it had turned up again.

 

But the loss also provided Gwyneth with an opportunity to discuss Faith and the importance of the Cross with other people, both patients and staff, putting into practice the lessons learnt and witnessed at Christmas, when God had sent His only Son into the world to reconcile humanity to Him, a reconciliation that was expressed through the Cross.

 

One of the other patients Gwyneth met had been diagnosed with two forms of cancer. Perhaps Gwyneth's admission was God placing her where He wanted her to be, in order to give comfort to someone badly in need of God's love.

 

We are called to live out God's vision for us, putting into practice His love and care for all His people.

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21st January: Love Needs Action

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In the week designated as the week of prayer for Christian unity Rev Dawn Brown took us through our annual Methodist church 'Covenant' service where we affirm our commitment to God and to do His will in our lives and communities.

 

We read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke Ch 10 and looked at the characters of the Priest and then the Levite who both passed by the injured man at the side of the road before a Samaritan, a people who were hated by the Jews, stopped to help.

 

Maybe the first two had been either too busy or too tired or perhaps it might have cost them too much to stop so although they were committed to serving God, they weren't actually involving themselves in doing it and seem to have forgotten the real reason for their calling. In other words, they didn't have 'skin in the game' of loving their neighbours and putting other peoples' interests before their own.

 

Can we be like the Samaritan, who hadn't cared how he might have been seen by others or what it was likely to cost him, and show ourselves to be both committed to God by actively involving ourselves in His work?

 

So in our Covenant service we reaffirmed our commitment to love, as Jesus loves us, giving of ourselves and getting involved?

 

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son (John Ch 3 vs 16) and we can be safe in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us and never asks us to anything that is beyond our capacity.

 

Only through God's Holy Spirit which is the DNA of love within us can the World be changed through both our words and actions.

Enjoy this service here in full:

14th January: Talking God

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Local Preacher Maureen Simpson discussed with us how God sends people to intervene on His behalf with us - although we don't always listen! When as a child the great prophet Samuel was called to serve, as told in 1 Samuel Ch 3, it was his master, the old priest Eli who discerned it was God calling him and in John Ch 1, when Jesus was appointing His disciples, Nathaniel needed his friend Philip to introduce him to the Lord

 

It's easy to assume that these things only happened in ancient times but that's not true - God continues to speak and He's speaking now. The Bible stories we learnt in childhood all have messages for us today, but do we allow ourselves the quiet time needed for the penny to drop and for God to speak through our seemingly random thoughts?

 

Do you remember who it was who brought you to the knowledge of God? We are all called to be aware of the opportunities to affirm God to other people when we get the chance. Perhaps we can do this when we are at work or at the match or whilst enjoying one of our leisure pastimes.

 

So let's meet together and pray together in order to move forward together in the power of God who will always be with us, as we walk God's walk and talk God's talk.

Enjoy this service here in full:

7th January -Hear God Speak

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In our first service of 2024 Local Preacher Jean Shotton asked us to be aware of and appreciate all the different ways God might be speaking to us and encouraged us to be aware of what He might be telling us to do if we are truly intent in following Him.

 

We read the stories of God's first call to the great Israelite leader Samuel, as a sleeping boy, in 1 Samuel Ch 3 and then in 1 Kings 19 how the prophet Elijah heard God comfort and direct him in the calm after a great storm had passed by.

 

But God can speak to us in many different ways. We looked at this painting to think about some of the methods God uses.

 

Can you pick out an image of a Trumpet? Music is something that touches many people deeply reminding and connecting us with our emotions, with places or important events in our lives.

 

Then there are the hands in the picture. We can all remember those times when just a fleeting touch can bring a sense of relief or connection. They're part of our body language, one of our modes of expression. The healing hands we all need sometimes can remind us of the privilege of holding a new baby and seeing purity and innocence.

 

Is there an image of a scroll? If so, think of the continuity of the word of God throughout the ages whilst the water, essential to life but also the risk it brings.

 

Then there are those 'thin' places, from great churches where people have worshipped God for centuries to wilderness places where you might be more open to God.

 

God can speak to us in all of these places and circumstances. Can you find yours?

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