Category Archives: My thoughts

Thoughts on life.

Pictures from holiday in Hastings Day 1


Castle Dungeon

Castle Dungeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Hill Lift

West Hill Lift

East Hill Lift from Castle Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Pictures Copyright to C Brann

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Notes for Talk on 3rd June – True Worship


True Worship

June 3rd 2018

You can hear the talk hear for a couple of months    http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

ReadingsRomans 12 :1-3 & 9-21;   John 4 :19-26;             Ps 95

 

  • True Worship

What is it?

What do you think True worship is?

 

Here is a story

Man join a club lets call him John

John becomes a very active member going each week and also hosting 2 groups at his home each week.

John spends his money to fulfil his needs with this group, getting material and spending a lot of time studying thinking about it day and night

Even his wife comes second to the group.

 

Another man, Edward, joins the club but only goes to the occasional meet mainly to the big party events, he puts little effort into the club or learning more.

 

Who is supporting the club?

Who is worshiping?

This story is about me years ago when I spend all my time and effort on my wargaming.

 

  • What is it you support with all your effort?

What do you spend a lot of your day thinking about or reading about or spending time on?

How do we show we belong to something?

Israel was often being told that God wanted true worship not just ritual.

Micah 6

6What can we bring to the Lord?
Should we bring him burnt offerings?
Should we bow before God Most High
with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

 

We are called to worship with our total self. Not just part of us but all and totally.

We are to Love God above all else and Love our neighbour as ourselves.

For years I loved myself and my hobby more than anything.

 

  • So What is True Worship?

Matt Redman said ‘It seems to me that worship is about connecting with the heart of God and the heartbeat of God, so when you do that, you’re going to get his heart for the world too. You can’t say “I love God and I love connecting with God” and you don’t care about any of the things he cares about. So you could talk about the forgotten or the oppressed, the lonely or the refugee; when you start to connect with God, you start to learn that you care about those things too.

His Song the Heart of Worship goes

I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus

This happens in two ways

1- Group Worship

2- Living our lives as Worship

 

  • What is The Point of True Worship?

1- So we can honour God – Worship is the act of glorifying God it is what we where created for.

Isaiah 43 7 Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.’”

 

When we act like God with Love we bring Him honour, also when we spend our time with Him we show Him honour.

 

2- So we can enjoy and delight in His presence

Psalm 95

Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.

 

Like a child who loves to be around its parents – so we should delight in being in His presence.

Acts 2 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity[j]47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

 

3 – So God can draw near to us

James 4 Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

 

 2 Chronicles 5 13 The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words:

“He is good!
His faithful love endures forever!”

At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. 14 The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.

 

4 – So God can minister to us – This comes from the Spirit talking to each of us through our bible reading, the sermon, the prayers and from the Spirit of God talking to us though each other. We are encouraged and equipped for the week. We receive forgiveness and learn to forgive as Robert spoke on last week.

 

Romans 12:1  I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

 

We need to want to have the Spirit change us, to make us more like Jesus day by day.

 

Romans 12 :3 Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d]   

 

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

 

The fruit of our worship is shown in what we do day by day how we treat others

 

5- It helps unbelievers – Those new to God will know they are in God’s presence.

Those who do not yet know God will come to experience Him though our worship, they will see Him in how we worship together and in our lives.

 

  • So How do we enter into True Worship?

John 4

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 

Old Worship

Heb 9 1-3, 6-8, 11-15, 24-

In the past there was a temple in Jerusalem with two rooms. The inner one was the Most Holy Place and only the high priest could enter once a year.

 

Now Thanks to Christ, who became the new High Priest, we access God directly through Jesus.

Heb 9 13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds[f] so that we can worship the living God.

 

True Worship comes from worshiping in the Spirit and in the Truth of Jesus.

It is not about the ritual, the place, the time or even the music.

 

Heb 9 24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf.

 

It is about wanting to meet Jesus, have a relationship with Him and though Him a relationship with God the Father.

 

We need to prepare ourselves for worship, get our heart, mind, body and spirit ready to praise God and receive from Him.

 

When you go to a concert or ruby match how do you engage with it?

When I meet up with other gamers all we talk about is games.

Everything else is secondary.

 

When you met with other believers, particularly in church, how do you engage?

 

  • Wrong type of Worship

Jeremiah 7

But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord’s Temple is here! The Lord’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.

 

Just coming to church is not enough

 

Church is important but worshiping in heart and spirit is more than that.

It is about the heart of our worship.

 

Jer 16

11 “Then you will give them the Lord’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me.

 

  • How often should we worship?

Not always a easy question to ask or answer.

Think back to earlier when I asked “What do you spend a lot of your day thinking about or reading about or spending time on?”

 

What was your answer?

 

If it wasn’t God then maybe you need to think about just how much time you spend worshiping your Saviour.

 

Foe me I think the answer should be every day and as often in that day as you can.

 

So start the day with God, have your breakfast with God.

Find time to read the bible instead of what ever else you might pick up during the day.

Finish the day with God.

 

Listen and join in with worship music.

 

Join a Small Group and come to church each week so you can worship with others.

 

I admit I do not always mange all of this but it is my aim.

 

  • Questions

1- Do you think there is enough genuine worship in a typical week of your life?

If not what are the hindrances to genuine worship?

 

2- Have you ever felt a strong sense of the presence of God in corporate or individual worship?

When was this?

Do you know what factors contributed to this sense?

 

3- During times of worship can you describe the emotions that are most prominent in your consciousness?

Is this experience similar to other experiences in daily life or are they unique to times of worship?

 

4- Have you ever sensed that God is ministering to you while you are worshiping Him?

What made you aware of that?

 

5- How do you think about the fact the God is jealous of His own Honour?

Can you think of anything in the universe that would be more right than worshiping God, doing the thing for which you were created?

 

6- What aspects of worship do you find the most meaningful?

Which aspects the least meaningful?

What steps could Ascension do to strengthen and deepen the experience of worship here?

 

  • Lets Pray

Father God we want to worship you

We want to worship you together and in our lives.

Send your Spirit to bring us back to the Heart of Worship, to be able to connect with your heart.

 

Jesus Forgive us that we often make worship about us when it should be all about You.

 

We say together – I’m coming back to the heart of worship.  And it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus

Its about living our lives your way

Its about putting you at the centre of our life.

Its about Loving You first and all others above ourselves.

 

Amen

 

 

 

John 4

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,[c] where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”[d]

Romans 12 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority[c] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d]

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”[g]
says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”[h]

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

 

Our daily life and mission Walking the walk – Talk – notes for May 13th


Our daily life and mission

Walking the walk

 

 

  • Jesus told us His followers to Love as He has shown His love for us.

 

Luke 6   I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

 

Who is Jesus calling you to love in your daily life. At work or at home?

 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

  • Our Daily life is our mission field.

Often we only think of what we do at church with or in church as mission, what we are called upon to do in Christ’s name

However that is not the case, we are called upon to be Light and Salt  into the world not just be part of it.

Paul in Romans 12 says  

And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you

 

We are called upon to give our all to living our lives in Gods way.

We can only do this if we allow the Spirit of God to transform us.

 

In our services we often say the Lords prayer

It says at the beginning

Your Kingdom Come

Your Will be Done

This is to be done by us, just as it was by Jesus

Its not magic it’s God working through us.

 

  • What gifts do we have that we can bring to help others?

Can I listen to others?

Can I ask them how they are and then spend the time to listen to their answer?

Can I be a peace maker at work soothing over troubles?

Can I offer to pray for those I meet during the day?

Can I help them in other ways?

Can I see the problem which needs fixing and bring others in to help?

 

Romans carries on

Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d] Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

 

None of us are called upon to do everything for everyone, but we are to be honest in deciding what we can do for others.

 

We need to remember that others we know might be able to help more than we can.

That is not a ‘Get out of Jail’ card for us to always pass on by saying others can deal with it or just pass it on to others.

NO it’s to be honest about what we can and can’t do.

 

Talk about what I learnt from Helping Alex.         The need to get others to help

 

  • Jesus was always ready to stop what He was doing to help others, are we?

Matthew 14  13-16

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

13After Jesus heard about John, he crossed Lake Galilee to go to some place where he could be alone. But the crowds found out and followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd. He felt sorry for them and healed everyone who was sick. 15That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.”
16Jesus replied, “They don’t have to leave. Why don’t you give them something to eat?”

 

After Jesus is informed of the death and burial of his cousin John, he withdraws to a quiet place.

But he is not alone for long. Even though he’s on a boat, the crowds follow him and Jesus goes out to meet them. Why? He’s motivated by compassion,

Even though he’s dealing with his own grief and pain, Jesus is still vulnerable to the needs of others. And after a full day’s healing, the evening brings a further challenge: feeding at least five thousand hungry people. Once again Jesus’ behaviour challenges our own.

How often have I turned away from others because I need to guard my boundaries or protect my space?

Too often I fear. Jesus often made time  to be alone but he always seemed to be available to others.
Alex often called around at odd times, which were when he felt a need not to suit me.

 

Paul goes on in Romans 

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

 

Loving is about really Loving, showing it in what we do for those we say we love, rather than just words.

 

  • Jesus is always ahead of us not shouting from behind,

John 10 4 & 9 

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.

 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.

 

Often we think its the other way around, with Jesus behind shouting at us.

He leads us to things rather than push us to situations

He wants us to become used to following Him, getting to know His ways

 

Dream – Looking left and right before crossing, finding the right way and avoiding the traffic.

Stop and see where Jesus is leading before jumping into the traffic of life.

 

Dream – Jesus has a view from the top of a mountain whereas all we can see is the valley.

 

  • Ask each day What does God want of me today?

James 1 : 5-6 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

 

  • Jesus served with humility knowing rejection, can we do the same?

Romans

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge.

  

  • If we act like Jesus we will continue to grow in our faith as we see things happen around us. Just as we start as a baby and grow and learn from seeing those around doing things, so as Christ’s followers we will grow from needing everything done for us to being able to do it ourselves and then for others.

 

1 Peter 2

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

 

It will help us have confidence to do more, as Clare spoke on last week.

Peter, follower of Jesus, had his ups and downs but continued to grow.

He was Transformed by spending time with Jesus and the Spirit.

John Grayston says this

Peter is one of those great, larger than life individuals.
● Prepared to leave his livelihood and follow Jesus without knowing where it would lead (Mark 1:16–18).
● Spending time with Jesus and seeing him at work.
● Ready to step out of the boat – only to find that he lacked the faith to proceed (Matthew 14:22–36).
● Having a deep insight into the nature of Jesus as the Son of God, but completely misunderstanding what that meant and being rebuked (Matthew 16:13–20).
He is a brash, impulsive, inconsistent, unreliable, perhaps insecure individual. But also determined, courageous, willing to try anything.
Desolated by his denial he went back to his fishing only to be met by Jesus on the beach to experience the gentle rebuilding and restoration (John 21:15–19).
His time with Jesus was life transforming. The scene on the beach was crucial but so was the filling with the Spirit at Pentecost.

 

In his hope and his failure, his trust and his doubt, we meet someone we can identify with. The way in which Jesus forgives and restores him reassures us. Seeing him empowered by the Spirit gives us hope.

  • As we learn to listen to the Spirit we will see where Jesus is in peoples lives.

Like Peter we need the transforming power of the Spirit to help us as we encounter people.

The Spirit will speak to us of what God knows of that persons needs, we will start to see them as God sees them.

  

  • Lets walk the walk with Jesus each day.

Romans verse 20

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

When Jesus fed the 5,000 above he used his disciples, He chose to need the disciples and he extends the same privilege to us, fulfilling his mission [Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be done] through our activity, our words, our service.

 

Matthew 25 31-45

31 “But when the Son of Man[d] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[e] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

 

How will Jesus separate the sheep from the goats? And how will you know which one you are?

Jesus says [V 40-45] those on the right – the sheep – will be those who fed Him when He was hungry, brought Him water when He was thirsty, gave Him lodging when He was lonely, clothing when He was naked, and comfort when He was sick or imprisoned.

 

The sign of the saved is their concern for those in need. Compassion doesn’t save them – or us. Salvation is the work of Christ. But compassion is the consequence of salvation.

The sheep will react with a sincere question: when?

When did we feed, visit, clothe, or comfort you?

Then Jesus will answer, ‘Every time you showed compassion – you did it to me!’

 

Try to keep that in mind as you go through each day.

 We are called to be like Jesus and respond to the needs of those around us.

Jesus was directed by compassion and aimed at bringing wholeness to those He met

 

The disciples’ inclination is to send people away (v 15) – as with the Gentile woman and the children (Matt 15:23; 19:13–15) – but Jesus extends a welcome. It is tempting to pass the problem elsewhere, not wanting to be hassled by the complexity or size of the need. Jesus challenges his disciples and us to answer this need.

However we need to have faith and remember that He will be with us helping in all we do in His Name.

 

  • Respond
    In the clutter and clamour of life, once again hear the call of Jesus to come and follow him today.

 

Let us ask Jesus to Fill us with His empowering and transforming Spirit to enable us to have Compassion like His.

 

When you wake each morning, pray this simple prayer:

‘Lord, above all else help me to spend this day loving You and carrying out Your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Talk notes – THE JOY, POWER & FREEDOM OF HIS RESURRECTION


Discipleship in the footsteps of Jesus

The Joy, Power & Freedom
of His Resurrection
8th April 2018

Reading 1 – Nehemiah 8 8-12 & 2 Corintians 3 13-18
Reading 2 – John 20 19-23 & Romans 15 7-13

You can hear it here for the next couple of months

 Discipleship in the footsteps of Jesus
The Joy, Power & Freedom of His Resurrection

A interesting subject to look at and continues on our Lent focus of Discipleship in Jesus Footsteps.

Lets look at each word first and then we will look at what they should mean to us as disciples.

 JOY
What is Joy?

A definition – feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

What gives you Joy and how do you show it?

For many it comes from Sport or music and their various stars.
For me for a long time it came from Games particularly wargames

Would you go to an sport or music event if everyone was sad and there was no joy being shown?
How many of you go to sad parties?

Can you recall any times Jesus wasn’t bringing Joy, to those He came to?

In those cases it was because they didn’t want to follow Him but stick to there own way, own a way which made them miserable.

 FREEDOM
What is Freedom?

A few Definitions –
The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

What gives you Freedom, what do you see as Freedom?

Do you see Jesus as beingfree or unfree?
Was He controlled by others?

 POWER
What is Power?

A few definitions –
The ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.
The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
Authority that is given or delegated to a person or body.
The military strength of a state.

Where do you get Power from?

 So what is the Joy, Freedom and Power of the Resurrection for us disciples?

it is the Joy we get from knowing Jesus. He brings Happiness and Pleasure.
John 20 20 They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!

Talk about how it felt when I first met Jesus

Ask for others experience of meeting Jesus.

How do we show that Joy?
Psalm 9
1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
2 I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

Like with anything which brings us Joy we will talk about it and celebrate with others who enjoy it.

People will always know what brings you Joy, they will see the excitement in you as you talk about it.

It is the Freedom to follow the path of God rather than the path of the world.
It is no longer being controlled by fate or other impulses like lucky charms.
It is no longer being enslaved by the power of the world or of the devil.

Talk about how Knowing Jesus has given me a freedom to be myself

Ask others for examples of Freedom from knowing Jesus

Psalm 9
But the LORD reigns forever,
executing judgment from his throne.
8 He will judge the world with justice
and rule the nations with fairness.

Our Freedom comes from knowing that Jesus will judge fairly

2 Corinthians 3 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

In your presence is found Freedom, Freedom to be who God made you to be

It is the Strength we get from being part of the family of God
It is the Strength we get from knowing we are not alone in our lives
It is the Strength we get from knowing we are loved deeply.

Neh 8 10 for the joy of the LORD is your strength

Talk about how Knowing Jesus gives me the Strength to manage and continue.

Ask others about how knowing Jesus gives them strength.

Our Strength to cope with work, play, families, troubles etc comes from Knowing that Jesus understands, after all He has suffered Himself.

 Romans 15
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So its the hope we have in a risen Jesus that fills us with Joy, gives us Freedom and fills us with Strength.

No one wants to join up to a group which is lacking in joy and feel trapped and controlled.
However that is not what the church should be
The church should be a place of Joy;
A place where you can find Freedom from whatever binds you
A place where you can find Strength.

The early church experienced this and faithful followers of the Risen God have through the ages

Each of us can know a Joyful, Freedom in God and that Freedom will give us the Strength to deal with all what life can throw at us.

 Let us Pray

Nehemiah 8 8-12
8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”
11 And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” 12 So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.

2 Corintians 3 13-18
13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

John 20 19-23
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Romans 15 7-13
7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. 8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews[b] to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. 9 He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote:
“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing praises to your name.” [Ps 18:49.]
10 And in another place it is written,
“Rejoice with his people,
you Gentiles.” [Deut 32:43.]
11 And yet again,
“Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.” [Ps 117 1]
12 And in another place Isaiah said,
“The heir to David’s throne[f] will come,
and he will rule over the Gentiles.
They will place their hope on him.” [Isa 11 10]
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 9
R I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

Talk notes for – Palm Sunday 25th March 2018 Discipleship in the Footsteps of Jesus Keeping the main thing the main thing


Palm Sunday 25th March 2018

Discipleship in the Footsteps of Jesus

Keeping the main thing the main thing

Audio of talk here for next 2 months

Readings – John 12 9 & 12-18;   Zechariah 9 9-12;    Psalm 24   [see below]

Themes – Hope for what?;      What was the crowds hope?;              What is our hope?;

What hope was Jesus bringing?;         What was Jesus main thing?;

What should be our main thing, as we walk in Jesus’ footsteps?

 

  • Jesus takes a donkey into nearby Jerusalem, the people who have heard about Lazarus have come out to see this man for themselves. Over the last couple of years they have head much about him and his new kingdom. They want to know more and like all crowds down the ages are carried away and start celebrating.

 

But what are they celebrating?

What is the crowd hoping for?      What is their hope?               ask for ideas.

However like many crowds and even many today they have not understood what the main thing for Jesus is.

for them it is – Freedom from the Romans and the coming of a new Jewish kingdom like David’s.

They want a war leader to change the world. That is how they see the messiah someone to free them from slavery again. Another mosses to destroy the Romans and bring them into a new land.

Dying is not what people hoped the Messiah would do. Jesus’ impressive preaching and healing should have led to power and glory, not to the cross – but Jesus followed a totally different agenda. The cross was not to be the brutal victory of Jesus’ enemies in a fatal power game: it was to be an offering for others.

Pheme Perkins, ‘The Gospel of Mark’, The New Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon Press, 1995, p765

He was moved with compassion for them.’  Matthew 9:36

 

  • Jesus is keeping to the main thing.

 

He knows that the main thing is to do the Father’s will

‘His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’

We say this each time we say that special prayer

 

He knows what he is doing on that day, fulfilling prophesy and bringing in the new kingdom of God.

He knows what it will mean. some days later, what he will have to endure.

 

Do the crowd?

What do they understand?

 

No they do not want a Godly kingdom they want a new earthly kingdom where they are in charge and the current rulers are overthrown.

 

  • What are your hopes for this Kingdom?

What is it you expect from this Kingdom, what is your hope?        What is your Main Thing?

Ask for ideas

 

  • What did Jesus see as his role as the Messiah?

 

What was his Main Thing?     Ask again

LOVE

 

  • Jesus’ Main Thing was

Doing as the Father commanded, bringing

Freedom for those enslaved to sin;

healing the sick and damaged

tending to the poor,

loving all others.

spreading the news of God’s Kingdom,

 

This was always Jesus’ Main Thing,

He showed love where others wanted to judge

He healed those society marginalised

He freed people from the sins that chained them

He supported those who bucked the normal way of doing things.

He went against rules when it helped people.

He told of how much the Father Loved them.

 

Angela Munday from Word Live said
The teaching from Jesus really does turn things ‘up-side’ down, just as He physically showed in the Temple. Jesus was a peace- keeper who needed to disturb people and to challenge wrong behaviour and attitudes. The religious authorities enjoyed their life the way it was but Jesus needs people to see God’s values are not the same as the world’s. Things need to be put right and justice is for everyone. We are all God’s children and precious in His sight; may God’s will be done in peace and love; we are to be ‘different’ and holy as He is. We are the yeast that makes the Kingdom of God grow and expand…. ” Father God, the cross points us to You and outwards to others.”

 

  • So how do follow in His footsteps and keep the Main thing the Main thing

Jesus listened to and kept to his Father’s will and went his way, and if we follow in his footsteps so should we.

 

How do we follow in his footsteps?

Listen to God daily,

Put God’s way first in all we do

Love others

 

What needs to be our mission in our day?

Are there particular ways and directions he is calling each of us to go as we each do what he said?

heal the sick

tend to the poor and disadvantaged,

Love others’

spread the good news,

 

  •  Some of this can be done in here

 

Our healing mission for instance

We have healing prayer here. but are we encouraging people to come for prayer?

Are we ready to receive ourselves,  or do we not feel worthy?

 

Is that how Jesus looked at people did he ask them if they where worthy before he healed them?

 

Programmes to help others

 

Teaching, done on Sunday and in our small groups

 

  • Most of it needs to be done outside, where are feet take us each day

What can you do each day to bring God’s Kingdom into this World?

 

From UCB Word for Today

Acts 3 6 – ‘What I do have I give you.’

You must become comfortable in your own skin and confident in your calling. Paul writes: ‘Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without…trying to be something we aren’t. If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the centre of who you are; don’t fake it’ (Romans 12:6-9 MSG). Second: learn to recognise the difference between what people want and what they truly need. Sometimes they need to be strengthened; other times they need to be stretched. Sometimes they need comfort, not correction; other times they need correction, not comfort. This lame man didn’t need a handout – he needed a hand up. And that’s what Peter gave him. ‘He took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength’ (Acts 3:7 NKJV). So, in order to help people you must love them, recognise what they need, know what you have to offer, and connect with them at the point of their need.

 

We can join groups like CARE, MAF, TRAIDCRAFT, ect, we can sponsor children and villages.

and so on.

 

  • So with confidence we need to follow in his footsteps

A confidence from knowing The greatness of his Kingdom and being part of it

Knowing that our futures lie in this new Kingdom

 

We go with Open hands and hearts, with expression of love for Christ

Bringing Hope, Freedom, and Peace where we go

Bringing this New Kingdom to others with compassion and love

 

  • Let us Pray

What does it mean for me to walk in the way of Jesus?

Third way poem by Piers Lane
Lord Jesus,
When I am attacked, misunderstood or misrepresented for following you,
Help me to remember that there is a third way.
Help me to pause before I choose either a defensive or offensive position,
To find your way.
You were given two ways to go, affirmation or denial, yet you found another.
You stood accused yet chose silence.
You stood condemned yet chose righteousness.
You stood alone, yet chose fellowship with God.

And I think, Lord, it was because you could see the bigger picture,
Your eyes, your heart, your being were focused on the kingdom of your Father.

And mine? My eyes, my heart, my being?
Focused on me, so often.
So that, when I am accused, I either attack ferociously, aiming to out-do my accuser,
Or I curl up in defence and display no fruits of the Spirit, only those of sinful nature.
Forgive me.
And help me remember there is a third way.
Amen.
 

Sunday 25th March Palm Sunday

1st Reading

Zechariah 9. 9-12

Zion’s Coming King

9 Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey- riding on a donkey’s colt. 10 I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. 11 Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon. 12 Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.

Psalm 24 (9 am)

Response:

The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it.

1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it,

the compass of the world and all who dwell therein.

2 For he has founded it upon the seas

and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep. R

3 ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord,

or who can rise up in his holy place?’

4 ‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,

who have not lifted up their soul to an idol,

nor sworn an oath to a lie;

5 ‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord,

a just reward from the God of their salvation.’

6 Such is the company of those who seek him,

of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. R

7 Lift up your heads, O gates;

be lifted up, you everlasting doors;

and the King of glory shall come in.

8 ‘Who is the King of glory?’

‘The Lord, strong and mighty,

the Lord who is mighty in battle.’

9 Lift up your heads, O gates;

be lifted up, you everlasting doors;

and the King of glory shall come in.

10 ‘Who is this King of glory?’

‘The Lord of hosts,

he is the King of glory.’

The Gospel /2nd Reading

John 12.9, 12-18

9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.

12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,

“Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:

15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.

17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him-because they had heard about this miraculous sign.

Failed ESA assessments, I wish that I could destroy that building it’s hell in there. Welcome to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre..


This blog always makes me sad at how our country is treating people. but uplifted by how a small number of people fight back against it by helping each other.

The poor side of life

You know that it’s been over four years since we started the weekly demos and you would have thought that things would have got better, problems would be ironed out they said… It pays to work… The lies were constant, they still are and the problems haven’t been ironed out. They’ve become much worse.

I sometimes wonder how much crap the government will continue to give us, how much more will people have to suffer. The government are certainly relentless in their persecution of the poor and this isn’t going to change soon.

Today was another cold morning and more snow has been predicted, its been a very long winter and shows no signs of ending. Anyway I packed my bag as usual and set off to help people.

I started really early this morning because I stopped to help a chap whom I can’t discuss on here. His problems…

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TALK NOTES FOR 11TH FEB 2018 “LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL”


Talk Notes for 11th Feb 2018

Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil

Link to recording of talk will be there for a coupe of months 

Readings – James 1 12-15;                  Mat 4 3-10;  Mat 6 13;

Ps 141 [O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!]

 

  

  • Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil

I have found this verse quite hard to work on in fact it has taken me a few weeks to get my head around what Jesus wanted me to say about it today.

So I thought I would start by asking what you think this means, or what it means to you.

  • Over this week I have come to see that God wants us to understand that ” Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil” is about not being dragged away from our relationship with Him.

In the Old Testament Gods people in Israel and Judah where always being pulled away from their covenant relationship with God  “I AM”

Matthew 10 33 But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you don’t belong to me.

Mathew 4   4 ‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]

10 ‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[e]

 

Our relationship with God, as shown by Jesus, is to be our all, and we need to ask for help not to fall away and into the darkness again.

  All of us are tempted to have doubts and feel we are not good enough.

Even Jesus was tempted, however he refused to put the devil higher than His calling from God.

 

1 Peter 5:8-9 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
I find this quite a challenge, where do I deny God by putting something in His place

I wonder what things tempt you away from God?

 

We might not directly deny our faith but I expect that all of us find that old habits, new habits, family or society around us can all end up being put before our relationship with God

Jesus said to the devil tempting him Mat 4 10 ‘You must worship the Lord your God  and serve only him.’[e]

  • James 1 12-15

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[a] and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

 

As this passage says it is not God who temps us but our own desire to do things.

 

Our desire to fit in; to do what others are doing; to dress and act like others.

Now most of these things are not wrong in themselves, but they can easy draw us away from God and then further and further away till He becomes just a footnote to our daily life.

 

Someone we remember on Sundays or at odd times, just as we see in the story of the Old Testament.

 

 

Each time we put something or someone before God then we are slipping away, denying His place in our life.

 

 

 

 

  • We can each think my faith is strong, nothing will come before me and God.

However in  1 Cor 10 it says

 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

 

It is easy for us to get complacent and not see distractions coming up on us, we might think I have my life in balance.

 

However the story of the bible shows just how daft that idea is.

 

We need to be always on our guard not to be led away from our Rock, our Saviour, the one who brings forgiveness and love.

 

In Psalm 141  it says

O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,
and my upraised hands as an evening offering.

Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies
of those who do wrong.

 

We need to keep asking not to be lead into temptation and delivered from the evil in and around us.

  •                    However if we fail.

Galatians 6 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

 

So when we see others fall away from God we need to get alongside them and gently guide them back onto the right narrow path.

We are to love our neighbour and direct them back onto the path of light.

 

None of us is so important or so busy that this is not the most important command for us from God.

If we are to Love God with all our heart and soul and have no other God before Him then we must support each other to live that way.

 

It is by worshiping together, studying Gods word together and praying together that we support each other.

 

  • God understands how hard this all is

Heb 2  18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

Heb 4 14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing’s we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

 

 

Everyone is tempted

It is how we manage when we fall into that temptation which counts,

Sometimes we will fall short and fall away from God but it is never to late to say sorry and return to God.

As it says in Hosea 14

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,     for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,     so that we may offer you our praises.

 

 

  • So to finish

I have felt God wanting us to remember Who is important to us.

 

That we Putting God first in all things.

That we Put our relationship with Him first in all we do.

That we Put time with Him first each day and all day.

That we can say sorry and return to the Father ‘Just as the lost son did’

That we can pray Lord ‘Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil’

 

From UCB’s Word for Today Sat 10th Feb 2018   https://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today

Sometimes we despair and say, ‘I’m just keeping my head above water,’ and that’s okay as long as you keep ‘swimming’ and pressing on.

It’s when you feel backed into a corner with nowhere to turn, that you’ve got to take hold of the faith God has placed within you and keep moving forward. 

The waters you’re in don’t determine your destiny; they either carry you over or take you under. It takes faith to keep going. When you quit, God can do nothing more for you!

So today whether you’re doing the breaststroke, the backstroke, or some other kind of stroke that nobody’s ever heard of – keep pressing on.

 

Let us pray

Psalm 141

O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,
and my upraised hands as an evening offering.

Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies
of those who do wrong.

Let the godly strike me!
It will be a kindness!
If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.
Don’t let me refuse it.

But I pray constantly
against the wicked and their deeds.
When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,
the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.
Like rocks brought up by a plow,
the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.[a]

I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord.
You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.
Keep me from the traps they have set for me,
from the snares of those who do wrong.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
but let me escape.

 

James 1 12-15

12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[a] and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

 

Mat 4 3-10;  Mat 6 13

4 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[e]

 

6 13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
but rescue us from the evil one.[c]