CALL TO WORSHIP: (based on Mark 9:2-9)
L: We do not know what to say,
A: For we are afraid.
L: But a cloud overshadows us,
A: And a voice comes to us--
L: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
A: Lord, we listen today!
Awaiting Text from Stewart
CALL TO WORSHIP: ONE: God of grace:
ALL: We come with all we have;
bodies, souls, minds, all here to worship you.
ONE: We have come for a glimpse of your kingdom of kindness--
ALL: a world where love rules over all, a world where enemies
embrace, distinctions between friend and foe
evaporating in the light of your love.
ONE: We dedicate this hour of worship to you
and to your kingdom come. Amen.
Special Music - Nelson, Gord & Nancy – “Why Me Lord”
Main point, message.
Test the spirits..
We overcome the world, by understanding what spirit is from God and what spirit is of the world.
Isn't it great to know that all who know Christ have indeed overcome the world! I don't know about you, but I feel pretty good inside when I think of myself as "overcoming".
But..The world... is a pretty big thing to overcome, what does that mean?
We see in the Scriptures ideas like.
And John is not referring to loving Gods creation, Acts 17 vs 24.
Acts 17:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
World of human beings. John 3 vs 16-17.
John 3:16-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 12 vs 31
John 12:31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Ephesians 6 vs 11-12-16
Ephesians 6:11-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
James 4 vs 4
James 4:4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1 John chapter 4 vs 4
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Who is in us? The promised Holy Spirit
Who is in the world? The spirit of antichrist.
John's main concern for the church in-line with "loving the church" , is that they discern truth from error. In other words, stand firm in the word of God.
The problem he was addressing. Heresy,,, here Gnosticism = The belief that Christ did not come in the flesh, and that only those with superior esoteric knowledge. Greek word Gnosis,
can one be saved.
1 Jn 4 vs 1-3
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the
flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.
(Jesus spoke plainly and openly to his disciples concerning this).(and who the god of this age is)
The scripture say the god of this age has has blinded the eyes of people.
(A)We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will remove the blinders from people's eyes.
(B)We need to pray for opportunities to lovingly and respectfully share Christ with those who are in darkness.
(C) We need to be on guard and realize that there are many seemingly wonderful views and ideologies out there that are in direct opposition with Gods views.
(D) Finally and most importantly we need to realize that standing firm in your faith means we don't have to be ashamed of what we believe. But having said that, to balance it out, or to clarify, we absolutely must be people who deeply respect and care about others with opposing
Or else we are just clanging cymbals, and not displaying The love of God.
But mostly we all need to recognize that those who call on the name of Jesus Christ, are Gods children and that we are more than Overcomers!
Does that mean, Rich and successful?... healthy and happy? Yes,No, not necessarily.
It is much more than that!
And it means that we have everything we need in the Scriptures to discern right from wrong.
We have everything we need to resist a worldly system that opposes God.
We can overcome negativity and despair!
How does this passage and John play out?
1 John ch 5 vs 4-5
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world/our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God. ......
Finally vs 20 and 21
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, we are in Him who is True, and His Son Jesus Christ, this is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. .....
Why does John say,,,, keep yourself from idols?
Idols are anything and everything that gets in the way or between you and God, or that we use to replace God, fill a void, meet a need.
This world will do everything I can to beat you down, To get you to submit, surrender, give up, to give up ground, to water down your convictions. To say what's the use!
But we were created for greater things, we were called to greater things! We can and we will overcome! not because we are "amazing human beings" or better than anyone else.
But simply because Christ has made the way. When He went to the cross on my behalf and on your behalf,He not only demonstrated a perfect love and sacrifice, He not only demonstrated
The grace and mercy of God, and/or the righteousness and justice of God.
He Equipped you and I. And left us the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. And He helps us to discern good from evil.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 Jn ch 4 vs 4
Ladies and gentlemen, if God is for us who then who can be against us?
"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end." -author unknown
CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: True happiness comes from following God's way.
ALL: Our only delight comes in walking with Christ.
ONE: Let us praise our maker by fixing our vision upon the Lord.
ALL: We offer our praise through faithful action. Let us worship God.
PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: 0 god, whose Word is not just a one-way conversation, talk with us today and hear us as we pray. Free us, that we might listen for Your voice, and empower us to speak to You. For in Christ Jesus, You have called us into a friendship which influences all other relationships. Help us to see beauty where we might be tempted to see ugliness, in ourselves as well as in others. May Your joy be found there as well. Recreate in us a new heart, 0 God, one that beats in time with Your own. And now, as Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen
0 God, You remind us that faith without
love is meaningless. We present these gifts with love. We rejoice in our ability to share. May this moment of giving warm our hearts and stir our souls so that we remember to act consistently out of love. Amen
Someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbitrator between you?"
Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in abundance of his possessions."
And He told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
Then he said, 'This is what do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'
But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
CAN YOU SPELL?
We often refer to Jesus Christ as the master teacher. I wish I could have been more like Jesus when I was teaching full-time, especially in the patience department. Jesus used illustrations and visual aids. He had personal conversations with people, including Q & A sessions. But there is no doubt that His most effective way of teaching was the parable. He taught the truth by making it easy to understand and easy to remember.
Today we are going to look at the parable of the rich fool. Jesus told the parable in order to warn those listening about greed. He wanted to illustrate that a person's life doesn't consist in the amount of his possessions. That can be illustrated by this little story:
Henry was looking so glum and depressed that a friend asked, "Henry, what's the matter with you? You look like you've lost your last friend?" Henry responded, "What's the matter? tell you. Remember two weeks ago, my Aunt Molly died and left me fifty thousand dollars?"
His friend said, "Yes, I remember. What's so awful?" "What's so awful, you ask! Remember last week my Uncle David died and left me a hundred thousand dollars?" His friend said he remembered that too and asked, "What's so bad about that?"
With a sad face Henry responded, "What's so bad about it? This week I didn't inherit anything!"
The Lord gives us many gifts each day. We have many reasons to be joyful and happy. Yet many times we aren't happy with what we have because we are disappointed that we don't have more.
Jesus told the parable of the rich fool in answer to a question from someone in the crowd He was talking to. The man asked, "Teacher, will You tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me?"
Jesus answered saying, "Friend, who made me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" He continued saying, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possession."
To illustrate what He had said to make the man understand more fully, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. He begins by saying:
The land of a rich man produced abundantly. The man then thinks to himself, "What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?" Then he says, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years. Relax, eat, drink and be merry." But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" Jesus continues by saying, "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward
Why did God call this man a fool? Well the first reason is that he was a materialist. He was a man who considered material possessions and physical comfort more important than spiritual values. Being rich becomes a sin when we put wealth before God. We have to be willing to leave all our material goods if it ever became necessary to do so.
The second reason the man was a fool is that he ignored his responsibility to God. The man simply forgot that everything, absolutely everything, belongs to God. The man also ignored his responsibility to his fellow man. When we are blessed, we are expected to help those who are less fortunate. Jesus travelled and He was always doing good wherever He went.
The final reason the man was a fool is that he never included God in any of his plans. The man didn't realize that his riches wouldn't last forever if his heart wasn't right with God. He forgot that he could die at any moment. He had allowed the cares of the world to overcome his duty to God, The man trusted his riches instead of putting his trust in God.
Wealth is essentially having an abundance of something that is valuable. In God's kingdom, gold is just a metal and diamonds are just a rock. These things hold no value in God's kingdom. When we die, we can't take it with us. The only thing that is valuable in God's kingdom is having a relationship with Him through our obedience to His expectations of us. Knowing God and being in a good and honest relationship with Him, is the only true valuable thing.
Let's look at Luke 12, verse 15 once again: "One's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." And verse 21, "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
It's important to realize that our lives aren't made up of possessions. Having a lot of 'stuff' doesn't make your life better, which is why the happiest people are NOT among the most wealthy. Jesus told us that people who are only concerned with becoming wealthy instead of becoming rich towards God, are foolish, because only knowing God is truly valuable. The rich man is considered to be a fool because he was wealthy in all he thought was valuable, but he was poor in the one area that actually mattered.
We need to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes as the rich fool. He was foolish because he was a materialist. He was foolish because he ignored his responsibility to God and his fellow man. And he was foolish because he forgot that he could die at any moment.
Then Jesus said to them, "Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. A man's life is not measured by the many things he owns." Let's look at this verse from a different point of view. When I was in Elementary School we used to have spelling bees or spell-downs. I was always so nervous — what if I couldn't spell the word correctly? What if I hadn't studied hard enough? What if the teacher got cross or was disappointed in me? You always tried your best to be the last one standing in your row.
If you think about it, living is a lot like a spell-down. You need to study and study which things are right, and then stand up before the world and say them. Some people are spelled-down early in life because they didn't study hard enough.
There are some things which we are all trying to spell out in life. Success is one of them. We all want to be standing in the success row until the end. Happiness is another one of the things we want to spell, for we all want to be happy. Then again, we want to know how to spell God, for all of us want to be counted in when God calls His people.
The only reason we won't be standing in those rows will be because we didn't learn how to spell the words correctly. Some people spell success M-O-NE-Y, but that is wrong. There are many monuments in this country which people have erected in honour of successful people — Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, King Edward VI, Samuel de Champlain, Wolf and Montcalm, and the Unknown Soldier; but I have yet to see a single statue or monument erected to a man just because he was rich. M-O-N-E-Y does not spell success. A god and right thing well done spells success.
Next we'll look at happiness. Some people spell that T-H-R-I-L-L-S. If they can just get all the thrills they want, all the excitement, then they think they will be happy. But again, they are spelling it incorrectly. These people won't stand long in the happiness row. Happiness is spelled out in unselfish service; in helping others. When you try it that way, you will stand until the last.
Then there are those people who God M-E. They are only concerned with what I want to do; what I please; what I like; what I don't like. ME! ME! ME! But we all know that M-E does not spell God. God is spelled L-O-V-E and that is the way we should spell it if we want to be right.
How do you spell success? How do you spell happiness? And how do you spell God? Are you going to be counted out in the great spelling match of living because you don't put in the right actions and thoughts, or because you are trying to spell these words to suit yourself? Let's be counted when God counts His scholars, by learning His was of spelling.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, I come before You to ask for Your forgiveness. In the past I have only had thoughts of self-indulgence. Praying and dreaming of things I do not need. Never giving a thought for others, only my own selfish desires. You can see all the secrets of our hearts. So let there be no more greed, only faith and thoughts of kindness. Thank You, of wonderful Lord, for keeping my mind clear and giving me Your blessings. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
May the God of love who showed love, strengthen us in Your love for others. May Jesus, who shared His life, grant us Your grace that we might share our life. And may the Holy Spirit living in us, empower us to be only and always for others.
Please join me in reading the call to worship as printed in your bulletins:
ONE: Listen up, everyone! God has given us work to do.
ALL: God has called each of us before we were even born.
ONE: It was God who named us.
ALL: It is God who claims us.
ONE: The light of God’s love shines in us.
ALL: Let’s shine God’s love into all the world! Let us worship God. Amen.
Let us pray…..God of amazing patience….Christmas has gone and the New Year has begun….resolutions have been made and perhaps forgotten….the cold weather envelops us…..be patient with us Lord….help us to be attentive and to listen for your word….help us to be brave and bold as we answer your call to come and see….fill us with your peace and joy and grace as we follow your way, to be your light to the world. Amen.
Good morning. I am truly honored to have been invited here this morning to lead you in worship. This is my first time here so please bear with me if I do things differently or screw them up completely!! I am happy to see some of my own Boyd Settlement neighbours, many friends from my days of store keeping in Huntingdon and other people that I know by face if not by name…..a very warm welcome to all who have gathered here today.
Please bow your heads in prayer……God of Isaiah, you are our God, too. You spoke to the prophets, but your message did not end with them. There is still work to be done, and we pray to hear your call afresh. Help us joyfully claim our role as your beloved servants, knowing that you provide all that we need to do our work. You walked with us before we were even born, and you continue to hold us by the hand each and every day of our lives. We pray with the confidence of those who have been filled with your light. We pray with the assurance of those who have been called into fellowship with your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray now together as Jesus taught us...saying... Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Generous God…Help us trust your continued care, that we may share with others the abundance of your blessings. Strengthen us for service, and remind us of the great joy that awaits those who answer your call. Accept our gifts and give us new songs of praise as we celebrate the opportunity to be in ministry in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Holy God, from age to age you have blessed your people with wisdom. We come seeking learning and insight from your scriptures. Let your Spirit guide and inspire us so we might hear and see you in the words we read and hear this day. Amen.
Our first reading this morning is from the book of Isaiah chapter 49 verses 1 to 7
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord and my reward with my God.”
And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength--
he says, It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Our second reading is first Corinthians chapter 1 verses 1 to 9
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our final reading is from the book of John chapter 1 verses 29-42
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”. He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas, which is translated Peter.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God
It seems to me that following Jesus is often like banging your head against a brick wall. Your best equipment is repeatedly hurt and you don't make an impact on the object you wish to move or remodel.
I find that I love my enemy and they don't change.
I give to the poor and there are still more poor.
I seek to change my behaviour, and another destructive one emerges.
I strive to make a difference and there is no noticeable result.
I strive to just mind my own business….. and I can't even do that.
I am a failure.
You can imagine the reference that God would have to give me as he terminates my employment and sends me off to some other religion:
"Gail was in my employ for twenty nine years. She worked hard. Unfortunately she was not skilled enough nor had the stamina for the position and I have had to replace her. I wish her luck."
In our Isaiah passage, there is a servant who is called and chosen from before birth - God forms them for the job of bringing Israel back to their creator. He gives them a mouth that is sharp and words that are pointed, like a sword, an arrow-head. It's funny that when we talk about someone who wounds with their words we talk about how blunt they are. Isaiah uses the imagery of being too sharp. Their words cut. The impact they made I imagine was to turn people against the servant, in indignation and stubbornness.
The result was that not only did the servant fail to make much impact on others' behaviour, he got in big trouble - kicked around, despised, abhorred. The description of this person is classic burnout: "I'm spent, I have laboured in vain and for no purpose."
Now, I have to ask: What on earth does God think he's doing? In response to this poor, weary, person who has not seen any positive result of their efforts, God tells them their job was really quite small, and they now have to step up to the plate in a much bigger game. So much for Israel, let’s move onto the rest of the world. Let's go for a global approach! The task was too small, you poor, beaten, dimwit - let’s make you do something much more difficult! What kind of God is
this? Is God cruel? Is God just crazy? Does God not have an accurate assessment of what is going on?
Does God think the prophet is kidding and just a bit of a whiner who needs to be pushed to find his extra inner resources?
If you turn a blind eye to the hope in the text, yes. God could be any of those things. But that's not the case.
The drained servant says that God is his strength, and he'll trust God's assessment of the situation. God is his maker, the one who wired him for the task. God knows his strengths and weaknesses, and knows the servant is at breaking point. By all worldly standards, the servant is a failure - there is no great indent to the brick wall. To God, the effort has not come to nothing - this episode was only part of the vision and all is not lost. And the beauty about the partnership between God and this servant is that it is not the servant who has to stand on their own, looking strong and brave and conquering. It is God's glory that shines through the servant, and it is God's strength that sustains the servant. Superheroes often do both all by themselves. Superman leaps tall buildings in a single bound, is faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than steel, and after he's leapt the skyscraper, raced a Winchester and wrestled Hulk Hogan, he looks as shiny and handsome as ever. He achieves everything and he's still standing. Disappointingly, Superman is not real. However, the servant is real - gritty, human, finite.
The servant struggles to achieve, but God's glory shines through. The servant is spent and has no strength, but God's strength is the power that sustains. If the whole task were up to the servant alone, then we have reason to despair; but it is God who is initiating this work before the servant was even born. It is God who is calling the people back, it is God who is the very Salvation for the whole world. Essentially it is God's work and the invitation is to join in with the moving of the Spirit as we are created to do. We are not Supermen and Superwomen valiantly saving the world. We are humble servants who are strengthened and empowered by the Spirit to enter into the redeeming work of God.
God expects us to mess up….he knows that we will fail….in the failure is the lesson and the drive. If something isn’t working then perhaps it is time to change, to try something different. Some of the true geniuses, inventors and scholars and business people of the world….Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, the Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Mozart to name a few, were afflicted with either learning disorders or mental or physical disabilities… they suffered ridicule and embarrassment and shame….not to mention hundreds and thousands of failures before they went on to become the most influential and inspiring of people. The only failure is in failing to try again.
A little boy was trying to move a fairly large stone on a hot day. The little fellow’s face was flushed and streaked with sweat as he tugged at the stone which wouldn’t budge. His father came along, paused, then asked….Son, are you doing the best you can? The boy stood in surprise. Of course I am father. This is a big stone. Can”t you see how hard I’m trying to move it. His father persisted. But are you sure you are doing your best? Without a word the boy got a new hold on the rock and pushed with another mighty effort. But the stone was simply too big. See Dad, he said, showing he had done his best without success. But you still aren’t doing the best you can, his father insisted. You haven’t asked me to help you – and I’m big enough to lift that stone. There is always someone higher up.
All of the scriptures today have a similar theme….God knows us….God strengthens us…God reassures us that we are well equipped to do his work….. God calls us to change and to move forward…..to be his hands or feet or voice as we serve his kingdom here on earth.
I can't help but feel that as we struggle with the task of being God's people, it helps to know this. As we swing into a new year and gear up for what awaits us, some of us hoping it's not half as tricky as last year…As we turn to the people that surround us, our family, our friends, and contemplate how we are to be good news to them…as we look at the weather around the world…the floods and fires and earthquakes and wonder how these people will ever rebuild and start again….As we see the directions our country takes and wonder how we can make our voices influence the decision-makers…It helps to know that it is God who restores, strengthens and forms us for the task. It is Christ who was spent, despised, and laboured for no obvious gain, until being raised to be light that shines for the Gentiles, who walks this journey with us. It is the Spirit who breathes life, fires us up and gives us visions and dreams of great things.
May God provide us with food for the journey and grace for the road as we pick up and set off again, proclaiming the truth that we know. Amen.
Please bow your heads in prayer…….
God of community and family, we come together in prayer for your people and for the unfolding of your kingdom. We thank you for the grace and freedom we have found while living life faithfully. With the same enthusiasm that Andrew shared the news with his brother that the Messiah had finally come, we too declare Jesus as the Messiah and commit ourselves to be your children and followers of Christ Jesus.
Loving God, you care for all people around the globe. We pray that you bind us together in one community; united and uniting in the pursuit of peace and justice.
As we go about your work in the world, be with us in your church and be with those whom we serve. Help us to help others who lack the basic necessities of life; may we bring them your grace, mercy and peace.
When we struggle or are feeling down…help us to reach out to others for reassurance or a helping hand….in so doing we provide an opportunity for them to be a light to us….often that is the start they need to gain confidence and move forward. Help us understand that in our weakness is also our strength.
We pray for those who are ill or in pain; give them comfort. Give solace and the comfort of memories to those who mourn lost loved ones. Help us to reach out to them in their time of need.
We pray for the community and especially for the families of those men gunned down last week in Quebec City. May they find comfort as the people of this country stand unified against the forces of evil in this world. Help us live in ways that uphold respect and dignity for all people; empower us to bring justice and freedom and equality to all.
We pray not for easy lives, but to be stronger men and women. We pray not for tasks equal to our power, but for power equal to your tasks God. May our work be no miracle…but may Christ be the miracle in our work. Amen.
Go in the love of the One who strengthens us for the work to which we are called.
Go in the fellowship of Jesus Christ, who claims us as sisters and brothers.
Go in the community of the Holy Spirit, who binds us together with all the saints.
Go with grace to shine God’s love into all the world. Amen.