Sunday Service (Audio) 15th March 2020

Christ is With Us!
When God seems to shut some doors He opens others, let’s pray and praise together, and look to Christ for peace at these times.

A Kids Story about Sharing and Caring and receiving Christ’s love into our hearts!

If your would like to read the Service and Kids Story please find below…

Sunday 15th March 2020 – Christ is With us!

God is Good. All the time! All the time. God is Good!
God is Good. Even Now! Even Now. God is Good!
God is with us. All the time! All the time. God is with us!

Many of us may be feeling afraid or weary today.
As a church we want to play our part in protecting one another and especially the most vulnerable, and by reducing social contact we can play our part in helping others at this time. This is why at this time, we come together- not in the same place, but joined by the same Spirit!
We still our hearts, we welcome the Lord’s presence in our midst, into our fractured and stressed lives and land. Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

When the teenager Patrick found himself far away from family and friends, scared and cold, minding sheep out in the forests of this land of Ireland, he realised that God was with him! At his darkest time, Christ shone in his darkness. He was led to pray fervently, without ceasing, day and night. And the Lord led him one day to a boat that would bring him home. But God then later led him back to Ireland to join others in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
We don’t want to spread germs at this time!, but we do want to spread the love and warmth of Jesus!
And we are going to follow Patrick’s example, and pray and pray and pray!

Let us pray
Abba Father,
We worship You this Sabbath day.
Thank you for all Your love and Your blessings and mercies.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Lord there seems so much bad news at this time. We feel overwhelmed, stressed, sad, angry, worried.
Thank you that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us.
Thank you that we are people of the Good news, part of the family of God, united across this world and land.
We are united today to people all around the world who are praising you from homes, from churches, from hospitals and from prisons.

You have loved us with an everlasting love, You sent Your Son Jesus to come to earth for us, He died for us, He rose for us, and He is interceding for us right now from the Father’s right hand. This is good news to us. And He will come again in glory.
Father, You have sent the Spirit, the Comforter, to be with us and in us.
Thank you Lord.
Father, forgive us our sins, those times we have erred and strayed from Your ways and from Your Word, which is a lamp to our feet, especially in dark times.
Forgive us our sinful thoughts, our sinful actions, our sinful words. Cleanse us and heal us O Lord.
[Pause for silent prayer]
We rejoice in Your forgiveness O Lord.
Grant us good fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22- 23)
Help us to know Your Good news has not changed. Calm any storms in us.
Grant us peace in our hearts and minds.
You Lord Jesus know what we are struggling with, You know when we are scared.
You say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27. Help us to not be afraid but to have words of comfort, peace and love for others who are scared.
We pray for others today.
We pray for all those affected by this ongoing situation. We pray against the spread of the coronavirus, abroad and at home.
We pray for all those who are caring for others, we pray for those who are sick. We pray for those researching a vaccine and treatments.
We pray for those who are lonely at home, and those who are scared.
We thank you for good and highly trained medical staff and carers working in hospitals. Please be with them and give them all the strength and wisdom and energy they need. We remember those in our church who work in the hospitals and care homes.
May they know Your protection and peace.
May they know we love them and are so grateful for their hard work.

Thank you Lord that when some doors seem to be shut, You open others.
You opened the doors of the prison when Paul and Silas were singing songs.
As we praise and pray and sing, open doors in our hearts to more of Your Spirit, open this land and other lands in need to more of Your healing power and grace, open the doors of unbelief to new springs of faith!
And we pray for Your peace that surpasses all our understanding,
to guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

And we join in the words that Jesus taught us to say,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Praise (Sing or say out loud- or Replace with a worship song of your choice!)
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here;
Come bow before him now with reverence and fear:
In him no sin is found – we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned:
How awesome is the sight – our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace –
No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

1 John 4:7 – 19
God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

Message for this day 15th March – “Open Hearts!”

I’ll be honest, this is a bit of a sad day for me. I love church, and I love worship. Okay, so sometimes on Sunday mornings I would like to stay in bed a bit longer and even sometimes I think “oh, I’d like a Sunday off church!” (Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
But I really actually love church, because I love God and I love my church family – that’s all of you! I love that we are a mixture of people who all love Jesus. We may look a bit different, have different accents, struggle with different things, but we’re family you know? And it’s good in this world to know we’re not alone. Satan likes us to feel alone, but we’re not, we have God and we have one another.

Today, we might be missing Queen, Ayanda, John, Vincent, Ruth, Sean and ALL the helpers who should be busy setting up the Bibles, or missing Eunice, Rufaro and all in the praise group who lead us in singing!
After long discussions and many consultations with other ministers of other churches, we as a council and myself as your pastor felt to protect those most vulnerable and to support the government’s actions to reduce the spread of this virus, we must play our part and close for these next few weeks. God calls us to pray and praise together. But God also loves us so much, and calls us to to love Him first and put others first above us. We are to care for one another, look after the vulnerable and those in need. By playing our part, we hope and pray we are helping to stop the spread of this virus.
But even if we are not meeting at the moment, we will not stop praying!
No, no no! And we will not stop encouraging one another, looking after one another and staying connected.
There are so many ways we can stay connected; by phone call, text message, whatsapp, our church Website (which will have lots of information on it for you to look at each week). We can read God’s Word, pray for God’s world, and share the hope we have in Jesus with others in lots of different ways.
Let us play our part, what a wonderful part we have to play! We can intercede for others, and we will do this today.
We can show care for others, does a neighbour need food but is unable to leave the house? We can leave food by the door for them.
We will find lots of ways to encourage one another and help one another, as we lean on the Lord and wait for Him to open doors.
We can encourage and pray for all the medical staff and others who are laying down their own needs and wants to care for others. We are thankful for them!
Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan after a teacher asked him a question to test Him. “Yes I’m to love God and my neighbour, but WHO is my neighbour?”, the teacher asked. Jesus told him the story and said you care for others like that person- the good Samaritan.

We are to show what real love looks like, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
When Jesus met the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4), she was living in self isolation. She went to get water in the middle of the day when the heat was really strong, she was avoiding others, not because of any health epidemic, but because she would have been seen as a bad woman. But Jesus loved her and spoke to her and made her His missionary. He could see her heart. God sees our hearts today, our fears, regrets, worries, and He meets us where we are and loves us.

Last week we spoke of Giving up Fear for Lent! Wow, that seems an important message now! Every day let’s leave our fears at the feet of Jesus, and pick up a suitcase of Faith that we carry into the day with us.
When the people of Israel left Egypt they felt scared at times, they didn’t know what was around the corner, they were living from day to day. But God provided for them, and at night, when it was dark, God’s presence went before them in a pillar of fire, to light their way (Exodus 13:21-22).
We sang these words last week,
Though I feel afraid, of territory unknown,
I know that I can say that I do not stand alone.
For Jesus, You have promised Your presence in my heart;
I cannot see the ending, but it’s here that I must start.
And all I know is You have called me,
And that I will follow is all I can say.
I will go where You will send me,
And Your fire lights my way.

God’s presence will light our way through this dark time.
The Light of the World, Jesus goes before us. He is the Good Shepherd.
Patrick realised this, the Lord was His Good Shepherd and as he went through such a dark time, God lit his heart with love and gave Him purpose. God enabled him to be his servant even in dark times.
The Resurrection of Jesus shows us that God is all powerful, and can pierce any darkness with His light.
And God transforms and surprises us.
When God seems to shut one door, He opens other doors. Paul writing from prison, sensed God opening doors, he rejoiced in this, God was opening doors into people’s hearts and lives through the Gospel, even through suffering. Today we have these prison letters that God has kept for us!
And God uses the suffering church to be His salt and light, His mouthpiece to a hurting world.
As we shut the doors for today of the church building, we remember that the church is not a building but the people of God and that Jesus promised, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). As we shut the doors today we remember the boy Patrick praising God outside in the forests and mountains of this land. We remember that the doors of our hearts are to be open to Christ, our lives open to His guidance.
The Lord who makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, is with us. Hallelujah! Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, now and forevermore! Amen

Please keep checking the church website for more information.
If you have offerings or tithes for the church please keep them aside and you can give them later in the month. If you would like to give by setting up a standing order with your bank please contact Jane or myself.
We are going to organise a 24 7 prayer time next weekend, you can take an hour slot in the timetable by letting myself or Sarah know and then you can pray at home or where you live for that hour. We will email and whatsapp details of that out to you.
Please do pass me your email address if you haven’t already.

Kids Talk for Big Kids and Small Kids!

Today I’m going to tell you a story…

Alastair was shopping in his local Supervalu. He couldn’t believe it, there were NO toilet rolls on the shelves. And he had none at home. His wife and daughter would need to go to the toilet soon. What was he going to do? It was too late to go anywhere else, the shops were shutting soon, it was late in the day. His brother texted to say “Use moss and grass from the garden, it’s soft!”. What a silly idea! His wife had texted and thought they could use his daughter’s soft blanket if needed. Both ideas were bad.
Suddenly, Alastair’s minister walked past, Rev Bill. Rev Bill had a six pack of Andrex toilet rolls in his trolley. “Oh he can help me!” thought Alastair. “Hi Rev Bill! I see you have toilet rolls, I just need one roll, could I…” But as he was talking Rev Bill looked panicked, looked down, said “Em, sorry Alastair, see you at church” and rushed off, walking past him on the other side of the aisle. Alastair looked down, sad.
Just at that moment, Alastair’s best friend from church passed by, Matt. Matt had an 8 pack of Supervalu toilet rolls in his basket! “Hi” said Alastair. “Hi” said Matt and he smiled. Alastair smiled back, “Oh Matt, I see you have toilet rolls, can I have just one toilet roll, we have none at home.” Matt coughed into his sleeve. “Sorry no, I got there first” said Matt and he rushed off, walking away on the other side of the aisle.
Alastair started to cry and hid his face, crouching down because he was embarrassed and because it had been a very stressful day.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up. “Oh no”, he thought! It was Seamus! Seamus was from the other side of his estate and Seamus’ family were not liked very much by others. Seamus was big and tough and strong and Alastair was scared of him as were lots of other people. Alastair normally tried to avoid Seamus and other people like him, he had been told they were ALL bad people. “What’s wrong fella?”, asked Seamus. Alastair replied, “We don’t have any Toilet Rolls left at home and Annie, my young daughter and Sally my wife need to go to the toilet. They won’t be happy if I return home with no Toilet rolls. My brother texted and said we could use moss and grass from outside but I don’t think that’s a good idea, we might get green behinds!” Alastair was tired and didn’t know what to do.
“Ah, don’t be crying”, said Seamus, “Look, I have a 4 pack here of Toilet rolls, you can have these. We can manage at home with some tissues and I’ll look for more tomorrow.” Seamus smiled at Alastair and said gently, “We shouldn’t worry too much about tomorrow, you know? Each day has enough worry of it’s own. Doesn’t do us good, I think a wise Man said something like that once.” Seamus continued, “I’ll just buy these for you and your shopping too, you look sad. I’ll help you, don’t worry. We’ll get through this together. And we have a Friend above who is looking after us”.
Seamus helped Alastair up, being careful not to stand too close to him because of social distancing. Seamus carried some of his other shopping to help and even paid for it at the till. “It’ll be okay Alastair” said Seamus and gave him a big smile.
Alastair went out to his car in the packed car park and felt much better.

Children, why was Alastair sad? Who was the kind person to Alastair?
How can we be kind to others at the moment?
God can bring people along at surprising moments to help us.
And God can help us to be good messengers and friends to others.

Jesus told the story about the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the person in need to show what real love looks like. God had sent Jesus to the people around them, but they weren’t loving Him, they were passing by on the other side. They were rejecting others and rejecting Him. Let’s not reject Jesus!
Jesus doesn’t want anyone to miss out on God’s love.
You can read that story in Luke 10:25 – 37.
When we feel sad or stressed, let’s remember Jesus’ words, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
He also said, “my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Friends, we are never alone! Jesus is with us, let’s be kind to others and follow Him this week!