Category Archives: Talks

Talk notes for ‘Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God’ 23rd June 2019


Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God  

Talk notes for 23rd June

 recorded version will be here for a couple of months  http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

Readings

Matthew 5 1-2 & 8     Gal 5 16-26    Psalm 24

Outline

God wants hearts that are in line with Him.

We will get things wrong but God still knows our heart

Do we know and accept the wrong we do and seek forgiveness?

 

Does our heart want to follow the Spirit and live God’s way? that is important

When our heart is in line with His ‘Pure’ then we see God in all around us and others see God in us.

We can also see God and hear from Him

 

  • Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God

I said in the notice sheet piece ‘The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God.

However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means.

 

Pure the Greek word is katharoi, which means, “clean, pure, unstained, either literally, ceremonially, or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright.” It refers to that which is “without added mixture; separated (purged), clean (pure) because it is unmixed (without undesirable elements).” In the spiritual sense, it refers to being purified by God – being free from the contaminating influences of sin.

 

Heart: The original Greek word used here is the word kardia. It’s obvious we’ve carried this word over to represent the organ in our body responsible for pumping 750 gallons of blood through our body every nine hours.
But the biblical use of this word goes beyond a physical organ. It refers to the core of a person; that immaterial thing inside that makes us what we truly are. When you strip everything away, what’s left? That’s what this verse is really referring to here. It’s our irreducible minimum.
 

  • Those with Pure Hearts are contrasted with those who thought that they had satisfied God’s will through ceremonial conformity to tradition. Jesus insisted on simple, true heart – righteousness

 

Judah followed the rituals but their hearts were far from God and not pure

Jeremiah 7 3 – 11

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “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. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal; murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”— Only to go right back to all those evils again?

 

  • Boast in the Lord not your things accomplishments

Jeremiah 9 23-24

23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

 

  • We will get it wrong often We will fall into sin by doing wrong

 

After all we started as sinners made pure by Jesus

Romans 6

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

 12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God

  • . 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of Gods grace.

 

It is through the grace of God that are hearts become like Jesus’ pure and holy

It is through confession that we keep our hearts pure.

 

  • We need to acknowledge our sinfulness

Jeremiah 8 4-6

“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!

 

And Paul says in Galatians  

  • The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

None of this gives us a Pure heart, rather a polluted one.

 

We need to recognise when we sin, and repent.

Allowing Jesus to purify our hearts again.

Asking to be filled by the Holy Spirit again so we can live pure lives with the fruit of the Spirit in us.

 

Again Paul says – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

Pure speaks of being free and clear of the effects of guilt and sin. It’s like a filter has been put over the heart so it becomes peaceful instead of hostile. What was wrong with the heart before has been made right by virtue of God’s influence upon it. Just as Jesus touched and purified the leper, He purifies our heart when He touches our lives.

  • We need to be more real on inside than it seems outside

Faith is not about outward acts or appearances but begins and ends with the transformation of the heart

 

Matthew 6 1-6; 16-18

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

16 And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth,  that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair[d] and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

 

  • Do we live from the outside in – to please others and build our reputation in the eyes of the world?

 

Or do we live from the inside out – seeking to live good honest lives before God and leaving our reputation in God’s hands.

Do we have integrity?

What is the core of your life?

What is your worldview?

 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG         “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

Luke 3

John said about Jesus: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

 

  • So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

 

How do you see the world around you?

 

Jesus said in Luke 18 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

We have to be like Children, Pure in Heart.

 

Children are pure in heart as they are the same on the inside and outside, they have not learnt how to wear a mask.

 

What matters is not your status before man, but your status before God your Father.

Child of God, Pure Hearts come from putting Jesus our saviour God our father at the heart of everything

 

  • RESPONSE: Today, ask the Lord to search your heart for any impurities that may be clouding your vision of Him.

Lets pray

Father we want to see you

We want to see and hear from you daily.

We want to see you all around us.

 

So Father please Purify my heart today, wash it clean with the blood of your son Jesus our saviour

Fill me anew with your Holy Spirit

Help us to be pure in heart and blessed with the sight of you.

 

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice Sheet piece

Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God [1]

The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God. However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means. Jesus had made it clear in other places we have pure hearts when we put Jesus at the centre of our lives and treat others as He would and as He does treat us. It’s not about making sure we look good to others, or taking part in the rituals of church, or even being seen to do good works. No it is about what is important deep in our lives. So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

I have found that when my heart is pure, aligned with, centred on, Jesus then I see and hear God around me and in others and when I let my heart slip away then I lose that sight.

 

[1] Matthew 5 8

Advertisements

Talk notes for ‘When Jesus Speaks how do you answer?’ Palm Sunday 14th April 2019


When Jesus Speaks how do you answer Palm Sunday 14th April 2019 (2)

 

Recording of the talk will be here    for a couple of months

Counter Cultural Love – Notes from my talk in church 10th Feb 2019


Counter Cultural Love

Talk for Sunday 10th Feb 2019

 

Themes

* Looking at how hard it is to love those who disagree with us

* Who support a different view point

* Who dislike someone we like

* How we are led by culture to hate certain ideas and people

* How Jesus calls on us as God always has done to love even those who hate and hurt us.

Readings   1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13                    Luke 6.27-36

 

  • Last week Clare talked about the Power of Love and this talk builds on that.

How Loving even those who do not love us is God’s way.

 

  • I have used a piece from the Big Issue by Dr Harris in the notice sheet piece

He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person. “We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable.”

“We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex which appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine.

 

No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. “Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,”

 

Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

As Christians we believe that living God’s way will turn our response around we will love others as God loves us and them.  That is Counter Cultural Love

 

That is what we are going to look at together today.

 

 

  • ‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ Romans 12:2 NLT

From UCB Word for today – Thoughts produce feelings, not the other way around. Worried people tend to think anxious thoughts, and eventually those thoughts become so automatic that, like a lingering odour, you stop noticing and learn to live with it. You get used to ‘stinking thinking’! Your thought patterns become as habitual as brushing your teeth. You get so accustomed to thinking bitter, anxious, selfish thoughts that you stop paying attention to any other way of doing things.

 

Basically you respond as the world expects you to.

Love those who love and help you ignore most others and hate those who harm you or those you love.

 

David had been Hurt, Insulted, Hated and Hunted by Saul for a while and now he had his chance, his men where encouraging him to deal with the enemy once and for all.

However David had always followed God and knew that it was God’s job to deal with his enemies.

 

So he did the Counter Cultural thing and let him live.

He refused to kill the one who wanted to kill him and even got distressed at having cut his robe.

 

Can you think of situations in the world or even your life which are similar?

 

David had been transformed into a New Person because he tried to live God’s way.

 

Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.

 

David did this, most of the people  then including the King, Saul, didn’t.

And it is still the same now people hold on to anger and hatred and that breeds more of the same.

 

Saul responded by saying how sorry he was and stopped hunting David, at least for a while and this situation happened again. In the end it was Saul who died but not at David’s hand and David became king.

 

  • Luke 6.27-36 From the Message

7-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

 

This is hard teaching.

So how does not acting like those who dislike us, our enemies, bring out the best in us?

 

I saw a situation during the week

A red car was coming out of a junction when another car came down the hill and honked it and speeded off.

The red car honked back and gave chase and off they went honking each other.

 

The red car had not brought the best out of the other car in fact the situation just got worse.

 

What would have happened if the other car had just stopped or driven past?

 

 

If we react in the way we are being treated then we just ramp up the situation

whereas if we show love we show the best of ourselves and claim down the situation.

 

Think about how people react to each other over Brexit or many other points of view, or who hate those they like.

 

How does responding hate for hate help?

How does being angry to those who are not like us help?

How does ignoring the Homeless or the Migrant help?

It doesn’t it just produces more anger and hatred.

 

But what if we help in some way??

 

How did David respond?

 

  • When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.

Now that is the way to respond, pray for them.

 

I know from my own experiences that it is hard to not respond in kind, and culture expects and encourages us to.

Just watch the soaps or virtually any drama

Watch how they act in parliament

 

Or just see how society around you act.

Culture tells us its ok to hate those who hate you, to want revenge on those who hurt you to only help if theirs something in it for you

 

However if I can just stop and pray it starts to make a difference to how I respond.

Its a bit like counting to 10 as I was told to as a child.

But in this case I am asking for help from my Father to act as He does.

I do not always get it right either, but then neither did David.

 

 

  • If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

Again, this is not easy, we tend to want to get our own back to get an advantage.

 

If someone says something about me I want to get my own back, is how our thoughts go.

That leads to personal insults and on the internet Trolling.

The word trolling is a word commonly used to describe a method of fishing. In trolling, a fisherman         casts a line out into the water, usually several, and pulls them behind a boat, hoping that he will catch            something.

A troller or someone that trolls is someone that casts a line out in the Internet world in hopes of hooking             someone into an argument, pretty straight forward right?

They get a kick out of winding others up or just being rude.

 

Jesus tells us to not respond in kind but to be generous to them in our response.

 

  • Luke 23 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Like Jesus we need to ask our Father in heaven to help us forgive.

 

When we forgive we help ourselves by not having that stress in our life anymore.

In an argument we just stop and let them have the last word or ignore them, Jesus did this with the Pharisees often.

 

Sometimes we just have to be the servant, a person who just takes orders and abuse from the master and can not respond.

 

Just think about Jesus and how He lived He never retaliated

 

Then there is what we say in the Lords Prayer

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!

So think if someone else has sweets you might like them to offer one to you, wouldn’t you?

Then  you need to offer others some of your sweets.

 

If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?

Its easy to give some of your sweets to a friend who has some to share back, not so easy to give to a stranger or outcast who can’t give back, but it is what God asks of us.

It is also what we expect from God if you stop and think about it.

 

Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal?

Garden-variety sinners do that.

If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?

The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

God helps us in many ways, He forgives, He Loves, He Blesses all without anything in return.

We need to be the same

Always giving in Love to others with no thought of praise or reward.

 

John 3 16  Message version

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

 

  • 35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return.

 

Many people do good things for the reward.

Helping children or animals because it makes them feel good

Helping friends because they will like us and might give us something back

 

 

We need to teach ourselves to act as God does to us with Love and Forgiveness

Train ourselves so we move the pleasure switch to doing good to all no matter who they are, how they treat us or where they come from.

 

As with all re-training it needs to be done in small steps.

Start with one person who you would not normally engace in love with and go from there, slowly you will change how you think to become more Christ like in your actions.

And as in all things do not beat yourself up if you make mistakes or get it wrong, Jesus understands and He knows you are trying.

 

You’ll never-I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

 

We know that God loves us no matter what, we do don’t we?

After all He gave Himself for our punisment.

He is kind and loving to us no matter how we treat Him

Isn’t He?

 

So we need to act that way to those around us.

Loving them even when they hurt us by their actions [Sin]

Loving them even when they ignore us

Loving them when they take advantage of us

 

Because when we do then our Father promises that we will be treated in the same way in heaven and by Him always.

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

None of us want to be treated badly so we need to treat all we met, no matter how they stand with us, with LOVE.

This is Counter Cultural this is LOVE as GOD LOVES US not as Man loves.

 

1 John 2

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways.

Don’t love the world’s goods.

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father.

It just isolates you from him.

The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

 

So let’s adjust the switch by keeping close to Jesus Loving as He does rather than keeping close to the world and acting as it does.

 

 As John Harris says in UCB Word for Today

An honest reading of Luke tells us that true discipleship is based on following Jesus, seeing the world through his eyes and striving to act as he did.
Like the wise builder, we must come to Jesus, listen to him and do what he says. Unlike those who were learning to be disciples back then, we don’t have Jesus present with us – but we do have his Word. Like the wise builder, we must dig deeply and lay the foundation of our lives on the Word of God. We must not dig shallowly, selecting only those passages which suit us, as the Pharisees did. We must keep digging deeply until we encounter the Revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Then we must model our lives on his.

Lets Pray

 

Readings

1st Reading 1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13

King Saul hunts David, and David has an opportunity

3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.'” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.

7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king-he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you

 

2nd Reading

Luke 6.27-36

Love for your enemies

27 Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

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.

 

From the Big Issue

Dr Lasana Harris, associate professor of experimental psychology at University College London, studies neurological responses, specifically the way our brains engage with other people and the world around us. He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person.

“We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment,” he says. “Most people think, and rightly so, that homeless people are having very negative experiences and constantly suffering. We may not always want to resonate with that suffering. Because of that, we lose sight of the fact that these are just regular people.”

According to his research, our brains automatically censor our perception of homelessness on a biological level to stop us empathising and feeling hopeless.

“People aren’t being seen,” he says. “If I’m a busy person, going through a city like London where there are tons of homeless people, and I have to stop and consider the minds of all of these people, that might make me feel very uncomfortable. Moreover, if I don’t feel like I have the resources to help, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate that suffering. That feeling stays with you. Our brain says instead, if I take a second to stop and think about your suffering it’s going to make me feel bad. So, dehumanisation becomes a kind of emotion regulation strategy.”

 

Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says: “While we can’t be thinking about everyone’s feelings all the time, it would be a lonely life if we applied this strategy to everyone. So I think it’s interesting to think about how we choose who to care about, and why we might cognitively step over a person sleeping rough.

“Is it because we think we are not like the homeless man on the street? Are we afraid it’ll cost us something if we engage with his existence, or worry we might feel bad about our part of the inequality problem if we look one another in the eye? Is dehumanisation automatic or is there, at some point, some intentionality behind turning off our empathy machines?

“The answers will better our ability to counter the inequality problem – that is, if deep down, we actually want to look outside our cosy cognitive bubbles.”

The consequences of living in bubbles are all around us, as society in general appears to act increasingly insensitively towards the marginalised. Rough sleepers are not welcome and moved on by authorities without there being the necessary resources to help them properly. Hostels are often inadequate, but homeless people are put there long-term, out of sight and out of mind. Hostile architecture, designed to deter people getting too comfortable in public areas, is becoming a more common sight, and Universal Credit is still the government’s benefits system of choice despite the overwhelming evidence that it is making life for the people it exists to support more precarious.

“We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable,” he says. “We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex called the subgenual cortex. It’s full of oxytocin receptors, and it appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine. No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

“Think about your Facebook,” says Harris. “You probably have a few hundred ‘friends’. But they are casual acquaintances. You aren’t processing them deeply. We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment. And we think a version of this is what’s happening in the case of homelessness.

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. Is there a refugee crisis because people don’t relate to them as fellow human beings? In the Brexit vote, it was areas with relatively low levels of immigration that were most concerned about it.

“Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes, and we should be doing much more to exploit their potential to overcome prejudice.”

This reflects projects Harris ran with the Museum of Homelessness last year. In his experiments, he made participants humanise people by, for example, asking them to consider questions like: ‘Does this person prefer broccoli or carrots?’ He also scanned people’s brain activity before and after speaking to someone sleeping rough. After this kind of interaction, Harris found that participants were far less likely to spontaneously disengage.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,” Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

Talk notes for Beatitudes Merciful and Pure Oct 28th 2018


The Sermon on the Mount

Beatitudes

Merciful and Pure

Readings – Math 5 1-2 & 7-8;       James 2 13 – 17;          Ezekiel 18 5-9; Psalm 24

 Talk is recorded on Ascension Church website here  they are only keep for a couple of months

 

  • Today we are looking at two linked Beatitudes

7 God blesses those who are merciful,     for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

 

In all these sayings of Jesus [Beatitudes], a current behavior or attitude is linked with a future outcome. Jesus teaches that what we do now will have a bearing on our futures.

 

 What does it mean to be Merciful, showing Mercy?

 

Just what is mercy?

What does it mean to you to be merciful or for others to be merciful to you?

 

John Stott says – Mercy is compassion for people in need

Dictonary.com says

Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’spower; compassion, pity, or benevolence:

The disposition to be compassionate or forbearing:

The discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.

 

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, ‘Christians … must share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom … Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour. The Christian is called to sympathy and action.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theology of Liberation)

 

  • Matt 5 7 “You’re blessed when you care.

            At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. [Message]

 

How can you show a commitment to justice and mercy in your life?

 

 Michelle Smart says –  The Old Testament and the New Testament stress what’s really important – justice, mercy and faithfulness (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; James 1:27). The lack of justice shown by the religious teachers [of the time] reveals the hollowness of their outward religious observances. In contrast, Jesus’ followers, aided by the Holy Spirit, will live servant-hearted transformed lives of faith and love.

 

  • We are judged on our mercy to others

If we want God to be merciful to us then we need to be merciful to others

Just having faith isn’t enough if that faith is not shown in how we live and how we treat others.

 

John Stott says – Our God is a merciful God and shows mercy continuously; the citizens of his kingdom must show mercy too.

 

James 2 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”-but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

 

Mercy is forgiving others, who do not deserve it, helping other with no hope of return.

Mercy is helping those worse off than us, not just our friends and those who say thank you

 

John Stott says – we cannot receive the mercy and forgiveness of God unless we repent, and we cannot claim to have repented of our sins if we are unmerciful towards the sins of others.

Jesus said in Matt 18 [Message] The unforgiving servant

32-35 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’

 

And in James 2 12-13 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.

 

Also 1 John 3:16

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Robert said to me – Mercy is God’s way, it releases God’s power and grace into this world; whereas judgment destroys mercy, and we ourselves end up under judgment.

 

We are to be the Light to the World and the Salt that seasons.

Mercy to others is part of how this works out

 

  • You’re blessed when you care.

            At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. [Message]

 

Finally for me  it is our Christian duty to act as God does to us. He shows mercy to us,  ccompassionate and forbearance, forgiveness and pardon,  so we should show this same mercy to others.  If we show mercy to others then we are more likely to have others show mercy to us and we all want others to be merciful to us don’t we?

 

If we do not show mercy then how can we expect mercy?

 

We want Gods mercy and forgiveness ourselves, us being merciful is giving that love and forgiveness back to others and thereby sharing Gods love.

And just as we do not deserve Gods mercy but God gives it to us so we need to give out mercy to others.

 

  • What does it mean to be Pure of heart?

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  [Message]

 

Mic 6:8.  They neglect the heart of the Law – faithfulness to God and his covenant, justice and mercy towards the marginalised

 

 Psalm 24

3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols
and never tell lies.
5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior

 

John Stott says – the person with a Pure Heart is one who does not lift up his soul to what is false, idols, and does not swear deceitfully. That is, in his relations with both god and man he is free from falsehood. So the pure in heart are the utterly sincere. Their whole life, public and private, is transparent before God and men. Their very heart – including thrir thoughts and motives – is pure, unmixed with anything devious, ulterior or base.

 

So “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  [Message]

Hebrews 12.14 
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, without which those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

James 4.8
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

David in Psalm 51 asks God to create in him a clean heart, which he knew God alone can do

 

For me being Pure of  Heart is about being a person that is focused on God first and always, trying to hear him and live His way, allowing Him to shape me.

Now I admit I do not get it right all the time, but I am trying to continue to put God first just as Jesus did

and also to put others first by treating them as Jesus did.

With Love, Care and humility

 

Let us pray

Robert said  –  we need to discipline ourselves, have ‘long obedience in the same direction’, allow God to form and shape us – it’s about the inner core of a person. And this is needed by us all rich and poor alike, every human being.

 

Father God we pray in Jesus name that you will create in us a Pure Heart one which will show Mercy to all.

Amen

Matthew 5 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

 

James 2 13 – 17

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”-but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

 

Ezekiel 18  5-9

5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right.6 He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols[a] or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. 7 He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 8 He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign Lord.

 

 

 

Notes for my talk on 9th Sept at Church – ‘Listening and understanding others’


‘Listening and understanding others’

9th Sept 2018

Theme – Understanding ourselves; Listening to God; helps us listen to others and understand them

Readings1 Samuel 3 1-10;              Luke 2  46  & 8 17-19                       

Other passages – Matthew 13:11-13; Proverbs 18 : 13

 Link to talk on Churches website   http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

 

  • Listening and understanding others’ is a big subject so this will only be a overview of what I have learnt about it.

We might all think we spend time listening, after all you are doing it now aren’t you.

We all think we listen to others but mostly we only hear what we want to hear and our own interests are often getting in the way of really understanding what we are hearing

Hearing is not listening, listening is an active thing not a passive thing.

To listen to me talk you have to concentrate, pay attention, watch and see as well as use you ears.

What people are saying comes over in their body language, voice tone as well as the words used.

 

How to listen to and then to understand others is one of the first things I had to get my head around when I became a Christian.

After all for a large part of my life I didn’t really listen to others unless we were talking about History or Wargames. I wasn’t interested in their lives and what was going on for them. But then few people could hear past the stuff I was talking about to understand the real me.

 

However a few did and I still value the time they gave to me.

 

It meant I had to listen and understand myself first. After all I could not listen to others and understand their needs if I didn’t even understand myself.

 

So that is the first point we have to know ourselves first.

 

  • How do we get to know ourselves?

 Following Jesus requires us to understand ourselves and our place with Him and then we are better able to listen to and understand others.

 We Understand ourselves by Listening to God, He shows us how loved we are and how much He wants to spend time with us.

At CA collage we did a course on Human Development, as well as a Counselling course, both of these taught me a lot about what drives me and what personal noise gets in the way of me hearing others.

Think of a radio badly tuned you can hear bits of the program you want but it is distorted by interference.

To deal with this we have to retune and get the program through clearly.

It is the same for us we have to tune into God fully to understand ourselves and then when we are with others we need to tune in to them and only them as we listen and understand.

When we know that we are loved and accepted then we can listen to others without our own needs getting in the way. We can listen in Love a love we reflect from Jesus.

Jesus could hear His Father because He knew Himself, Jesus understood what  influenced Him and therefore could really listen.

Luke 2 46

46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

He wanted to understand so listened and asked, we need to do that for ourselves with God and others.

Even if that means spending a long time there

 

  • We need help to listen fully to others

 

We need the Spirit of God, the Helper to guide our listening.

The Spirit helps us listen to others and understand them. It acts like a Ariel tuning us in to the person we are listening to.

In fact it also acts like a amplifier making the message clearer.

 

The Spirit gives us wisdom of when to ask a question or get the person to clarify something.

It also gives us, sometimes, the questions to ask to help that persons journey.

 

Otherwise we might end up doing what

Proverbs 18 says

13 Spouting off before listening to the facts  is both shameful and foolish.

 

I also find the Spirit gives me the concentration and strength to give my attention for a long time.

And take my word listening to people does take effort and energy.

 

We also want to listen to others to show that Love Christ has for us to them.

  • How do we Listen and Understand?

 

Samuel didn’t understand what was happening and so couldn’t hear  1 Samuel 3

He heard but didn’t understand twice and responded in the wrong way

He had to be directed to listen and then he could understand

The disciples where the same they needed direction to be able to listen

Jesus told them that they had to listen

 

Luke 2 18  “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

 

Mathew 13

12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge.

13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

 

In Psalm 103 it says ‘The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.’

 

This is how we need to be to be able to listen to others, full of love and compassion.

Prepared to take the time to listen

The time to really understand what they are saying and need.

 

Then we need the wisdom to know if and when to speak, how to challenge and how to encourage.

How to direct and how to pray.

I have found that this wisdom only comes from God Via the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Personal Sacrifice

In Luke [2] Jesus spend time to listen to others, to learn and to understand, even though this meant missing out on leaving with His parents.

Often Listening takes time and sacrifice if we are to understand what the person is saying to us.

 

Listening is not a quick 5 minute chat, it is being prepared to give of time and self to do nothing but listen.

This might mean missing an appointment or being late for it, giving up something else you want to do

 

Listening is a gift to others, because it shows them are loved and cared about and it helps them understand what they are trying to share.  Get things straight in their own mind.

 

  • So this week spend some time asking God to help you understand yourself.

Prepare yourself for those people who need you to listen to them

 

This week try to give the time to really listen to someone, give of yourself in love.

Let us Pray

 

 

 

 

News Sheet Piece

‘Listening and understanding others’ we all think we listen to others but mostly we only hear what we want to hear and our own interests are often getting in the way of really understanding what we are hearing. For a large part of my life I didn’t really listen to others unless we were talking about History or Wargames. I wasn’t interested in their lives and what was going on for them. But then few people could hear past the stuff I was talking about to understand the real me. In our Samuel reading [1] Samuel didn’t understand the voice he was hearing and what it meant it took a while to gain the understanding needed to really listen. In Luke [2] Jesus spend time to listen to others, to learn and to understand, even though this meant missing out on leaving with His parents.  Often Listening takes time and sacrifice if we are to understand what the person is saying to us. Listening is also a gift to others, because it helps them understand what they are trying to share.  So this week try to give the time to really listen to someone, give of yourself in love.

[1] 1 Samuel 3 1-10     [2] Luke 2 46

 

 

1 Samuel 3 1-10

The Lord Speaks to Samuel

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

 

Luke 2  46  & 8 17-19

Luke 2 46

46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

Luke 8:17-19

17 For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

18 “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

 

Matthew 13:11-13

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

 

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.