CALL TO WORSHIP:
For the freedom we enjoy to worship you
WE THANK YOU GOD
for your Word that brings us knowledge
WE THANK YOU GOD
For your gift that brings us life
WE THANK YOU GOD
For the salvation we have in Jesus
WE THANK YOU GOD
Praise Him Praise Him #103
To God Be the Glory #62
We Are One in the Spirit #80
Scripture Reading: John 13:1-17
New International Version
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
"WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE ANYWAY?"
I usually wake up early, and often listen to the radio. On Sunday mornings at 5 am there is a program from Ireland called Doc on One, which is simply documentaries about Irish people, of all types, basically telling their stories.
A few weeks ago, the story was of 2 Irish girls who became involved in the Hare Krishna sect. The way they told it, at the age of 15 or 16, they were just hanging around, bored when they were approached by members of the sect. They thought it was silly, but they showed up at the
celebration they had been invited to. They said they first thought the idea of all the candles and chanting and the bowing down to dolls or images was again, silly. But they went again. And again. Until gradually they became members of the sect and ended up going to India, where they stayed for 2 or 3 years before returning to Ireland, married to Indian men from the sect, and each with a baby.
Another day I was driving and listening to CBC to an interview with a young person who was talking about Wicca. Wicca is the whitewashed modern name for witchcraft worship. The interviewer was asking if the situation of the pandemic had brought more people than usual to the doors of the Wiccans. The answer was yes, it had.
I thought back to the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York City. At that time the western world went into a crisis of fear, and the churches filled up with people seeking comfort and solace from God or their otherwise ignored religion. I haven't heard of the same kind of response this time. For one thing, we have not been allowed to gather together, the doors of the churches have been closed, and most group activities have been shifted to online meetings.
But my question was, after hearing about the Irish girls and the young person interviewed on CBC, why did they turn to these non-Christian groups? Could they not find what they were seeking in the Christian Church?
The Irish girls said they were bored, there was nothing to do, and they were attracted to the liveliness and passion of the Hare Krishna group. They also said, more importantly, they were made to feel welcome, like part of a family. They were embraced and enfolded into a family group, a private world of all-encompassing support.
The other young person divulged that he, or she, was transgender, and though wished to be in a church, was not welcomed anywhere in the traditional faith groups. He didn't feel like he belonged and felt cast out. He then explored other ways to practice his "spirituality" and to make the story short, had, under the banner of Wicca, essentially developed his own belief and ritual system tailor-made to himself.
Where was the church? Where were the Christians around them who could have had an influence on these lives? Both Ireland and Quebec are places where the church has had a huge presence. Was there truly no-one who shone the light of truth, or no church where they felt at home, embraced in a loving family?
Jesus said he came to save the LOST, not the ones who had it together and who already knew God. He came for those who needed Him, who were in crisis in their lives and saw no hope or redemption anywhere. He talked about how the good shepherd leaves all the rest of the "safe" sheep to go out on a special search for that one lost one.
He tells us that He is the light of the world and we are to reflect that light. He tells us that we are the salt of the earth, the salt that brings out the true flavour of life. Speaking of salt, it truly is an amazing substance. As a cheese maker I learned to appreciate salt like never before. Salt is a preservative, because it kills bacteria. Salt when dosed correctly enhances flavour. Salt dehydrates, and also absorbs moisture and creates texture. At one point Health Canada decided to inform Canadians about the dangers of over consumption of salt, and scheduled meetings with cheese makers to tell them they had to reduce the salt content of cheese. Cheese makers just rolled their eyes and laughed. Because the salt used in cheese making has to be dosed exactly. You cannot use too much or the bacteria that helps create the cheese dies, and using too little allows unwelcome bacteria to grow. Salting in cheese making is an exact science. Needless to say, the meetings were cancelled and Health Canada acted like it had never been a topic. Anyway back to salt.. if salt loses its saltiness, it's no longer good for anything except to be thrown out in the dirt. If Christian's lose their influence on the world around them, they are of no use to the Kingdom of God. We are the salt of the earth. We are called to enhance life fight the negative and work for the best result in lives of others. Matt 5:13)
New International VersionSalt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
How do we become that salt, how do we reflect the light of Christ? How do we be there when a 15 year old girl needs to know she is loved, or someone on the fringes of our society seeks acceptance and support?
We know that Jesus told us the main job is to
1. Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and soul and mind, and
2. 2. Love your neighbour as yourself.
3. Sounds easy but it is not. Our hearts are divided, we love ourselves more than anyone or anything else, we like our comfort and our own circle of friends and customs.
When I was widowed in Switzerland I decided to move back to Canada so my girls could have extended family and grow up surrounded by that love. I moved to BC where my sister and family lived. It is a small town, a couple thousand people with a few churches. I went one Sunday to a local church. No one greeted me. Noone welcomed me, asked who I was or offered me a coffee that they were all lined up for after the service. If I hadn't already been a believer, I could very well have turned my back on Christianity that day. So what was that all about?? Where in those hearts was the message from Jesus to love your neighbour as yourself? And loving God first means following His directives.
How do we put that love into action? It seems like it's more than donating to the Red Cross or World Vision, or filling a shoebox for Christmas gifts for poor kids somewhere.
How does a daily life of living for Christ look?
Php 2:14-16 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.
In this passage Paul tells us we are to shine like the stars. People in the dark see the light, are attracted to it, and when they approach, they are given the word of life.
You are the light fo the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.
Many people live in darkness, fear and loss of all kinds. We as Christians know that God has given us the gift of life through Jesus, and because we know Him, we glow from inside with that love and peace. People see that.
1 Thess 5:15-22 says Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you"
So in these couple of passages only we have a few directives on how to be the light
-pray (that is, ask God to act whether in our own hearts or those of others)
-be thankful (in all things)
"Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"
In past ages, this call went out and many responded by becoming missionaries, travelling out all over the world. But becoming a missionary to a foreign land is not the only or even perhaps the best way to bring light and the word of hope and life to people.
Think again of people who have influenced your life in a positive way, who perhaps convinced you that following Jesus was the answer.
Were they fair? Were they kind? Were they joyful? Were they thankful? Or were they whiners, selfish and unkind, complainers or backstabbers? I doubt it. In short did they exhibit the love of God in their daily lives? Ultimately it boils down to our every day lives, how we live them, how we are there for others in need, how we surrender daily, or even every second of every day to the authority of Jesus in our lives, the Giver of true life, the one who loves us most. The one who exhibited that love by His ultimate sacrifice for us, for me for you, in that He gave His own life so that we could know the salvation, peace and joy of knowing God.
Let us be that light, let us be the one who is there for a young person who feels like they don't belong, or for someone who needs to know there is indeed goodness in the world. Let us be the one who says, "here, I can help you carry that" or "is there something that I can do for you?" Or simply, "hello, my name is xxx, can I get you a coffee?" It doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to be a sharing of the gift, a reflection of the light, expression of the joy of life we have been given.
ELUDE: Nancy & Norm
PROCESSIONAL: Thy Word
CALL TO WORSHIP: We come as seekers, unsure of what we seek.
We come freely.
We come as followers, not understanding the One we follow.
We come freely.
We come to worship, even though we don't know how.
We come freely.
By Your grace, Lord, meet us where we are. Meet us here & now.
We come freely.
WELCOME & COVID RULES:
OPENING HYMN: #28 I Saw The Light (Mary's Songbook)
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Lord, we come before You this morning to pray and to praise. As the sun rises, may Your hope rise up in us. As the birds sing, may Your love flow out of us. As the light floods into this new day, may Your joy shine through us. We come before You, 0 Lord, and drink in this moment of peace, that we may carry something of Your hope, love and joy in our hearts, today and throughout the week. And now, as You taught us: 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.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES:
OFFER1NG: There will not be the usual collecting of our offering. Instead, you can put your offering in the "Bentley" box.
Lord, as we offer our gifts to You today, we remember the questions Jesus put to His disciples, "Who do people say that I am? And who do you say that I am?" We pray that we might be ready to answer, not only with our voice, but also with our lives and our commitment to You, saying, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." In his name, we pray. Amen.
Amazing grace with Norm Rennie
New International VersionPsalm 25Of David.1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
New International VersionSamaritan Opposition51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
The Cost of Following Jesus57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
New International VersionThe Cost of Being a Disciple25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
#109 I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (Mary's Songbook)
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT:
Let us pray: You are my Lord and my God. We know from Your Word that a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart is a sacrifice, 0 God, that You will not despise. We come before You now to offer ourselves to You, our body, our mind and our soul. We are Yours atone. We confess that we are sinners and ask for Your forgiveness. We repent, and with Your help, we can turn away from sin and instead, turn toward You.
Lord, we freely submit ourselves to You and ask that only You will lead us. Lead us Lord upon that narrow path which You have chosen for us, so that our destiny may be fulfilled exactly as You have planned for us.
We submit ourselves to You and commit to doing everything we do, to saying everything we say, and to choosing everything we choose, for the sake of Your kingdom. This we pray in Your name. Amen.
Scraps, Shavings And Rags
Luke 14:28 --- "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't
you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough
money to complete it?"
Whenever I go shopping, whether it's for groceries, clothes, appliances or toner and paper for my printer, I always ask myself, "Can I afford it?" It's so easy to buy things. If you see something you like or want, you just give the cashier your credit or debit card, and the item is yours. You don't even have to leave your home to purchase things you can just buy it online, and have it delivered to your front door!
Sadly, this action has put a lot of people in debt. Items are repossessed, homes are foreclosed and lives are ruined. People are starting to realize the dangers of buying without thinking about the consequences. They think twice before buying a new car, new patio furniture or a big screen TV.
Jesus tells us to ask ourselves, "Can I afford it?" But it's not just a car or new TV that costs something. Being a Christian costs something too. In reality, it costs everything! Jesus told his disciples and He's telling us, to count the cost and always ask, "Can I afford it?" Think about the huge cost of following Jesus as one of His disciples. It's a wonderful gift from Him that Jesus allows us to follow Him.
I'm going to ask you a few questions and I'm sure you all know the answers. What is sawdust? Next, what are shavings? Then what are chips? Who knows what filings are? What do we call little pieces of cloth? What are ravelings? And lastly, what are crumbs?
Now that we have this collection words, I wonder what we can make of it. How much of a house can we make from shavings, chips and sawdust? How good a water pipe can be made from just filings? How much of a coat can be made from nothings but scraps and ravelings? How satisfying a meal can be made from nothing but crumbs? How much of an airplane can be built out of bits and junk and leftovers?
You can see where I'm going with this, right? We can't make something worthwhile out of leftovers bits and pieces. We need whole pieces to work with, whether it's lumber, yards of cloth, time or energy. When we want to build a house, or make a dress, or make dinner, we decide what it's going to take to complete the task. We look at our materials and plan how we can get it out to the best advantage, then we cut and fasten each piece into place. That just makes good sense!
"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" Jesus is calling people to follow Him in discipleship and He's reminding them that it's like building a tower that you don't want to leave unfinished because you don't have enough commitment or enough resources to finish it.
Jesus says: "Be sure you count the cost before signing up for discipleship." He doesn't want you to sign up lightly and then be surprised when you find the cost is high. It's difficult to count the cost when you don't know what the future is going to bring. Jesus requires a commitment to the highest possible cost. If you can do this, then there will be no surprises. Just say to Jesus, "I am Yours at any cost!'
Jesus enjoyed spending time with His disciples and forging relationships with them. He also gave them important instructions about how they should follow Him. Sometimes they were misguided in how eager they were. They were all about serving Jesus. They were excited about the idea of following Him, but they didn't always realize the full extent of what that meant. Jesus knew His time on earth was almost done and He wanted His disciples to understand that they would have to make sacrifices too. But the disciples wanted to approach things with violence. Jesus silenced their enthusiasm, but they were still confused about how much it might mean to follow their Master.
Think about it this way: You have tickets to a concert that you've been looking forward to for weeks. But at the last minute, you're invited to another event which is also important to you. The two events are on the same day at the same time. You're going to have to choose the event that is most important to you and sacrifice or let go of the other event. In our Christian life, nothing should come before Jesus. We must be willing to make sacrifices in order to sincerely follow Jesus.
Remember the scripture reading this morning: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even their own life "In. such a person cannot be my disciple. And whosoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything, you cannot be my disciple."
This sounds extremely harsh to us. After all, we know we shouldn't hate people, especially our family members. But Jesus isn't exactly telling us to hate our parents, spouses and children. He's just pointing out how important it is to follow Him. If we can't give Him our full attention and be willing to let go of other things, then it's difficult to truly obey Him. Following Jesus means reading His Word, recognizing what He has said and following His directions every day.
Yes, Jesus painted a very harsh picture for His disciples. It's a picture of difficult choices.. Jesus knows that we are too easily distracted by all the things we think are urgent in our life; our material desires and our physical comforts, and this often leads to failure in our whole-hearted commitment to Him.
Earlier we talked about scraps, shavings and rags, and that these things cannot make a solid or complete anything. We need whole pieces to work with. But more than that, we know that piling one board on top of another board, and another board on top of that only makes a pile of lumber. It doesn't make a house until we fit each board into its place.
During my lifetime, I've met people who think they can make a worthwhile life just haphazardly, without any plan toward which to work — just piling up scraps of time, ravelings of thought and a few shavings of energy. But that isn't the way to really make a life. It just makes a pile of days. We should plan our days to the best advantage. Take time to plan with the great master builder, Jesus Christ. Plan the sort of life we want to make out of our days and then we should fit each day into that plan.
Making a life is fitting together those things which make your character — your courage, your self-control, your fairness, your purity. Making a living is important, it's what helps care for the body. But making a fife, a life dedicated to Jesus Christ, that is a life that cares for the soul.
There is no cost that you can pay in following Jesus that won't be made up to you a thousandfold in the resurrection. Al! the so-called costs and losses are nothing compared to following Jesus and giving ourselves compkleteiy to Him. If we keep our hearts focused on Jesus and follow Him, it will guide us to God's blessings in our life. To truly follow Jesus Christ, we must consider the cost and put Him above everything else.
Let us pray: Lord, You call us to follow You, to put aside our own selfish interests even if the path is difficult or is heading in a direction we wouldn't have thought of choosing. Help us to see with eyes of faith rather than from our own human point of view. Teach us to follow You without fear, knowing that You are always with us, leading the way. This we earnestly pray. Amen.
As we take our worship and prayer from this place and into our daily lives, may our lives be sustained through Your love. May we continue to
know Your presence and power in the lives we lead. May we feel Your presence walking beside us and know the power of the Spirit in both our actions and our words. Keep us on the path you have shown us and help keep our faith in You ever present. Amen.
CLOSING HYMN: #103 Praise Him, Praise Him (Mary's Songbook)
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: May the Father's hand keep you from stumbling, the footprints of Jesus give you confidence to follow, and the fire of the Holy Spirit keep you warm and safe in your walk with God this day and every day. Amen.
SOLO: "Drifting Too Far From The Shore" Norm Rennie
Transformation. Psalms 86:11-17
A man was lying on the couch of his psychiatrist.
When the psychiatrist asked the man what his problem was, the man told him he had all kinds of fears about the future. The man took a deep breath and looked up to the ceiling.... "Doctor," he said, "I'm worried about the Covid-19 Pandemic, the economy, political and social upheaval, climate change, our diplomatic relations with China..." and he went on and on. Until he was interrupted by the psychiatrist with "Shut up and move over," as he proceeded to climb on the couch next to him.
I've missed you guys, here in the new world.
How are you all doing? Or maybe I could ask: "How is it with
Are you struggling?
Are you sad, depressed, anxious?
Do you miss rock and roll, and jamming, and your band-matesand your gigs? Oh wait, that's probably more me....
It's the peak of summer.
Temperatures have been in the mid-nineties, and COVID-19 infections are spiking.
We have to wear masks, and wait in line, and wash our hands.And we have to bathe. And we have to brush our teeth. And eat our vegetables. Yuck.
A lot of folks feel uncomfortable going to the neighborhood pools or the beach. Many don't want to go to a restaurant, and you can't go to a movie theater, so those normal places of escape from the sun and stress of summer are shuttered.
We are also witness to a heated political season south of the border. People (people like me...) are taking sides and arguing.
It's also a time of racial unrest. With marches, protests and violence rocking countries across the world and close to home. It's kind of like the world has hit a boiling point, hasn't it?
And so, we have the makings for frustration, stress, anxiety and, perhaps, depression.
Is anyone getting a bit stir crazy?
I know I am.
Out at Dundee, we generally have an outdoor service at my family's place at the lake in July or August. One of my favorite services of the year. We were excited about it, and disappointed when we figured it would be too complicated and risky to undertake. Probably the right decision, but we were disappointed all the same.
And the virus rages on.
And tempers and temperatures are rising. A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine called and told me his wife wanted a divorce.
This, for him, came right out of the blue. We talked on the phone a lot during that time. He admitted that he has been under a lot of stress, and has been allowing that stress to get in the way of his marriage. How could it not? These are incredibly stressful times.
I have a friend who's a single mother to two children; absolute darlings in normal times. Do you know what happens to darling tween-aged boys when they're cooped up inside for months? Friends, it's not pretty.
I have another friend who, like so very many, is obsessed with Social Media. He finds it impossible to not reply to political things people post that he strongly disagrees with. This inevitably ends up in angry words with a "friend" over the internet. Each time he does this, it ruins his entire day. He also reads every single comment and remarks that people following up to his post.. None of this does anything except him angry,
frustrated and depressed.. We say things on the internet that we would probably never say to someone's face.
It's kind of like road-rage. When we sit down in front of a computer and get onto Facebook or Insta-tweet or somesuch, it's like we become a completely different animal. We read these very public arguments and we think: How do people get caught up in this mess?
But we all do get mixed up in the "mess" to some extent, don't we? And getting mixed up in the mess, the controversy, the anger, the hate-filled words only leaves us frustrated, angry and depressed.
After-all, we are Christians. And Christians aren't supposed to get caught up in the hatred and anger of the world. We are called to be different.
We are called to love.
We are called to resist evil and love our enemies and turn the other cheek.
We are called to be humble, and we are called to serve others.
We are to be the light of the world; the salt of the earth.
We are to be Christ to our community, to our neighbors.
We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation
of the world.
So, when we get involved in fighting about worldly things, trying to hurt others... Well, how couldn't we feel displaced and unhappy? It's like having what the psalmist calls "a divided heart," is it not?
It's a little like saying:
"I'm going to give my life to following you Lord, but not going
all the way."
"I plan to become distracted and encumbered by worldly
"I am going to continue my angry streak."
"I am going to love God and some of my neighbors...not all of them, but only some—only the ones who think like me."
Our Psalm for this morning is a "Psalm of Lament." To lament is to express deep sorrow, grief or regret. And lament is a major theme in the Bible.
The Psalms of Lament are beautiful poems or hymns expressing human struggles.
The men and women of the Bible were as real as we are today.
They danced and sang, rejoiced and laughed, argued and confessed, lamented and mourned. They expressed emotions to God in prayer just as we do.
And so, when we encounter difficult struggles and need God's rescue, salvation, and help, the Psalms of Lament are a good place to turn.
In Psalm 86, David is dealing with a gang of people who are rising up against him; they seek his life. People that hate him and that hate God. And he is terrified. And I'd imagine he is tempted to hate these people back.
"0 God," David cries out, "the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. But you, 0 Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness..."
"...give your strength to your servant..."
"Show me a sign of your favor so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped and comforted me."
What is David praying for here? Is he praying for strength to destroy his foes? Is he asking God to strike down those who are after him? No.
He is praying to God for transformation. Whatever has caused these people to hate David, David is praying that God will so transform him—that they will see it and become transformed themselves. So much for revenge.
When Jesus later teaches us to love our enemies, perhaps this is what Jesus means.
"Teach me your way, 0 Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name."
In David's time of need, as he is being tormented by those who seek his life David turns to God. And when it really comes down to it, in times of trouble, God is the Only One we can turn to. There is no one else as committed to us and there is no one else Who has the power to rescue us.
When the Apostle Paul was struggling with sin, he cried out: "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" The answer, of course, was right there: "Jesus Christ our Lord!"
David knew the answer as well. And so, in the midst of suffering, David found the renewal of hope. And that hope is found in God and God alone. Everyone who has experienced new birth through faith in Christ, has experienced the forgiveness of God, the steadfast love of God, the miracles of God. But just about everyone who has experience all these things has also found something within themselves that could be described as being something like an divided heart.
We want to follow Christ, but we want something else as well. • And sometimes the something else wins. And when that happens we lose. And so, we return to God, longing for transformation which is a life-long journey, a day to day affair, a minute by minute thing.
I know I live a good deal of my life with a divided heart, and I'm probably not alone. My heart is divided between who I am and who I want to be...what I say and what I do... my joys and my sorrows... promises made and promises broken... my commitments and my wanderings... living faithfully and living as if I were self-sufficient.
The fragments of my heart are many. And maybe you know this about yourself as well. Mayby you can also name the ways your heart is divided. I suspect we are all, for various reasons, in this bind.
My first response to my divided heart is usually to try harder, do better, and to fix the circumstances of my life. I've discovered, though, that this brand of glue doesn't hold things together.
The way of the Lord and what we need to learn is wholeheartedness. To live this way means we can hold nothing in reserve—we need to be open and willing to risk our whole heart for God, in the service of others, seeking what Jesus is offering us with Himself
And so, in this Psalm of Lament, David is asking God to forgive him for whatever sin he has committed which has caused these people to hate him so... He is praying that, God will change him by teaching him God's ways, so that he may walk in God's truth with an undivided heart for the sake of the world. Talk about resisting the lure of hatred. Talk about grace born of prayer.
For what David has learned is this: he— not his enemies needs the patience and steadfast love of God; he—not they-- needs to be forgiven; he—not they—need renewed concentration to resist sin; he—not they—needs to focus on God's teaching, on learning God's ways afresh. And isn't this what all of our mistakes and "getting caught up in the mess of the world" boils down to?
We need to focus on self and not on what others think.
We need to focus on God and loving God and loving neighbor with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
That is the only way that our answer to the question of: "How is it with your soul?" will be "It is well, it is well, it is well."
As the psalmist says: "Teach me your way, 0 Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
Imagine how well we would be able to live in these trying times: As a people transformed through prayer.
People transformed to the way God wants us to be.
ROCKBURN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH August 9, 2020.
WORSHIP LEADER: Kevin Harvey
PRELUDE: Nancy & Norm
PROCESSIONAL: Thy Word
CALL TO WORSHIP:
In the name of Jesus Christ, I welcome you to worship!
It is a delight to be together to worship God!
We lift our voices with joyful hearts!
It is a delight to be together to worship God!
May the grace of God, the love of Jesus,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us now in this hour and always.
WELCOME & COVID RULES: Betty Hall protocol next time
OPENING HYMN: # 20 Morning Has Broken (3 verses) Mary’s Songbook
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD’S PRAYER:
ANNOUNCEMENTS, BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES: Betty
(There will be not be the usual collection of our offering …if you wish to give a basket is placed on the Church steps)
OFFERTORY PRAYER: Merciful Lord, you have provided each of us with many similar, yet unique gifts. Thank you, Lord, for the talents and abilities of people within this congregation. We are a blessed people! Now, we unite as one body to share in this worshipful act of the offering. Giving is such a joy-filled experience! Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to support the transformation of people’s spiritual lives through the ministry and mission of this body of Christ. Amen.
HYMN: #14 Sweet By & By, (3 verses) Mary’s Songbook
MEDITATION: “Thy Kingdom Come”
In this letter to the Hebrews we see, that when Christ came first, it was to offer his life a ransom. But we also learned the second coming where salvation will be truly realized!
English Standard Version28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
We are the church should not shy away from the messages concerning the return of Christ, of the judgement of the world of the lost. And salvation for the righteous. If we were to do so, it would be gross negligence and irresponsible. For the Old Testament and New Testament has hundreds of passages concerning first and second coming. Prophecies fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled. But,,, let's not be so eager and so preoccupied that we ourselves predict dates etc.
Because nobody knows the hour of Christ's return. However we can know the seasons.
English Standard Version No One Knows That Day and Hour36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[a] but the Father only.
Next we read of an event where the doctrine of the rapture of the church is mentioned. There are lots of theories to when that will happen during the tribulation. And my point that I want to stick to is that it will happen.
Most teach that the rapture happens before the tribulation starts, so I'm in the middle. And some of the end.
But one thing we can be sure of and be comforted by is that Christ is coming for us to set up his kingdom here on earth!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
English Standard Version16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Last week Nancy mentioned this passage and it was this passage that inspired to prepare this message. There is much here from chapter 24.
Somethings we can learn from this passage. Jesus was a profit. And he prophesied correctly. And here we see Jesus warns us of many false prophets. False prophets from. inside the church, and we are warned to be careful. And to do that we need to know this book called "the Bible" it is our lifeline to the eternal God...
Matthew 24 1-51
English Standard Version Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple 24
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Signs of the End of the Age3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. .....
Here in this next passage we see that we should be encouraged to fellowship and go to church and minister to one another. Notice where it says. All the more as you see the day approaching...
English Standard Version24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Jesus has the authority to give eternal life, and to judge the world!
Sometimes we read parts in the Scriptures and it makes us uneasy. But that is part of the job of the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside, so that we will be changed and ready for The kingdom
English Standard Version6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and ???
Apart from reading the word, praying, going to church and doing our Christian traditions. Our saviour asks us to be busy serving one another.
Here's where I have a bone to pick with us man. And something needs to change in us. We are often too guilty of leaving a job at serving one another to The women. And there's no excuse in saying that they are better at it. Yes they probably are. But we are to serve one another and
Service involves sacrifice. For those of you to serve in the church and serve in your community. Thank you. And God bless, may we all follow and do the same.
English Standard Version42
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. .....
When Christ does return. It will not be in secret it will not be something we have to figure out. Why? Because
English Standard Version7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail[a] on account of him. Even so. Amen.
Concerning the kingdom. And the end of this age. It is not until the gospel has been preached to all nations. And we are very close and accomplishing that. But there still more to do.
English Standard Version14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
How will Jesus return again. In the clouds, coming from glory
English Standard Version11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
What is the best thing about the kingdom of God? I try to imagine it, and I have a very hard time picturing it. Even after knowing all the Scriptures and visualizing and then imagining what it will be like. It's almost too much for me. But this I do know for certainty. That the Lord will be there!
Hallelujah. And it is amazing to think that Jesus the God of the universe who doesn't need us. Is busy preparing a place for us.
English Standard Version3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Here we see you again in Jesus speaking of the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, that will happen some decades later and 70 AD, but we also see an added detail, that the end will calm when the time of the Gentiles is accomplished
English Standard VersionJesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Do you know that when you read the book of revelation there is a promise that you will be blessed? Blessed are those who read and keep the words of this book
English Standard Version3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
For those of us a little older and knows what it's like to have aches and pains and not be able to run so fast etc. The hope of having a glorified body that never grows old never get sick and never dies is amazing. Not to mention what we would be able to accomplish...
1 John 3:2
English Standard Version2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Are you ready?
Kevin sings: “In Christ Alone”
CLOSING HYMN: # 12 Jesus Loves Even Me (verses 1 & 2) Mary’s Songbook
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
POSTLUDE: Nancy & Norm
THIS IS THE DAY
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made,
We will rejoice, we will rejoice, and be glad in it,
This is the day that the Lord has made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.
Open to us, open to us the gates of God,
We will go in, we will go in, and praise the Lord,
Open to us the gates of God, we will go in and praise the Lord,
Open to us, open to us the gates of God.
You are our God, you are our God, we will praise your name,
We will give thanks, we will give thanks, for your faithfulness,
You are our God, we will praise your name,
We will give thanks for your faithfulness,
You are our God, we will praise your name.
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN NOW IS NEAR
The great physician now is near, the sympathizing Jesus,
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer, of hear the voice of Jesus.
Sweetest note in seraph song, sweetest name on mortal tongue,
Sweetest carol ever sung, Jesus, blessed, Jesus.
And when to that bright world above we rise to be with Jesus,
We’ll sing around the throne of love his name, the name of Jesus......Refrain
REJOICE, THE LORD IS KING
Rejoice, the Lord is King, your sovereign Lord adore,
Give thanks, o mortals, sing and triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice; rejoice, again I say, rejoice.
For Christ the Saviour reigns, the God of truth and love,
When Jesus purged our stains, he took his seat above.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice; rejoice, again I say, rejoice.
Rejoice in glorious hope, for Christ the judge will come
And take the faithful up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice; the trump of God shall sound, rejoice.
August 2, 2020
PRELUDE: Nancy & Norm
PROCESSIONAL: Thy Word
CALL TO WORSHIP: ONE: It is a good day to be gathered together. ALL: This day is a gift from God. ONE: It’s a good day to give thanks.
ALL: This day is a gift from God. ONE: It’s a good day to ask for help. ALL: This day is a gift from God. ONE: It’s a good day to worship God. ALL: This day is a gift from God.
WELCOME & COVID RULES:
OPENING HYMN: #78 This Is The Day
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD’S PRAYER:
ANNOUNCEMENTS, BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES:
Ezekiel 38:14-16 2
New International Version14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
Peter 3:3-5 2
2 Peter 3:3-5
New International Version3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
New International Version5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
HYMN: #359 The Great Physician Now Is Near
MEDITATION: Broken Training
Have you ever taken time to think about athletes? Whether its a tennis player, a swimmer, a cyclist or a football player, they all have something in common: they need to stay in shape.
Perhaps you've been to dinner with an athlete and when it came to dessert he or she refused to eat any. Why? Because he was in training. Not eating a lot of sweets isn't the only thing a coach wants you to do. He doesn't want you to smoke, drink alcohol or keep late hours. The coach wants his players to keep in shape and he enforces his rules until the end of the season. But if a player refuses to give up these things, he won't be as good a player as he could be. This isn't good for the player, the coach or the team. We always want the best player we can get!
Mark 13:13 says, "Whosoever stands firm to the end will be saved." In sports, the team or individual that plays hard to the end, wins the game. For example, in baseball it's important to hit the ball, run to first base, reach second and then third base. But the most important part of the game, the only thing that finally matters, is to reach home plate. What a disappointment it is for a player to reach third base but the third strike out comes and he never reaches home.
Jesus often used shock therapy to get His followers attention in order to drive home his point. And today, in these continuing difficult times, the signs of the times should shock Christians into re-evaluating their faith. Just think of the terrible disasters that have happened in 2020: the Australian bush fires, the Puerto Rico earthquakes, the Ukraine plane crash, the Canadian military helicopter crash, the Snowbirds crash, the mass shooting in Nova Scotia and of course, the coronavirus pandemic. All these things happened in the first six months of this year. And these are the most catastrophic of events. I haven't even mentioned the hundreds of other terrible things that go on everywhere in the world on a daily basis: murders, rapes, suicides, racism, tornadoes, hurricanes, flood, droughts — the list goes on and on.
Now let's go back to the book of Mark and concentrate on Chapter 13. First, I'd like to ask a question. When you're travelling, especially by plane, how many of you have been mesmerized by a specific landmark on your descent? For example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Opera House, The Great Wall of China or the Statue of Liberty. And, the Twin Towers in New York City until that day in September 2001 when these man-made wonders tragically toppled to the ground after being attacked by terrorists.
A similar thing happened over 2000 years ago. Then, the people marveled at a man-made wonder of the world only to be shocked by a prediction of the destruction of that great building. This prediction was made by Jesus as He and His disciples made their way to the Mount of Olives during the last week of Jesus' ministry here on earth.
Jesus had been teaching in the temple, and as He and His disciples left the temple, they noticed the foundation stones. They were very large and joined so tightly together that they seemed like living rock. And Jesus said, "Do you see all this? I tell you, not one stone will be left here. They shall all be torn down."
The disciples were silent thinking about this as they climbed the slopes of Mount Olivet. But before they went over the crest, Jesus stopped and sat down with His disciples looking back upon the city. Alone now, with no crowds around them, the disciples asked Jesus: "Tell us when all these things will happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and when will the world come to an end?" It seemed to them that the temple couldn't possibly be destroyed until judgement day.
Jesus knew that His disciples couldn't understand how many hundreds of years it would be before the second coming. Their minds were focused on the prophecy that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed. So Jesus told them of the destruction of Jerusalem, and made it the sign of the end of the world, when He would come again in glory.
"Let no one deceive you," He said, "for many will come in My name and many will be deceived. You will hear of wars and rumors of war, but don't be alarmed. They have to come, but that isn't the end. All this will just be the start of sorrows. They will persecute you and put you to death and you will be hated because you bear My name. Many will betray and hate one another. And because evil will increase, the love of many will become cold. But he who holds on to the end will be saved."
Thirty eight years later the prophecy was fulfilled when a Roman general captured the city, slaughtering a million people and capturing nearly a hundred thousand more. The temple was burned and in searching for the melted gold and silver in the ruins, the Roman soldiers tore down the remaining walls.
But now, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus continued His prophecy. He looked far into the future saying, "Immediately after the troubles of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will give no light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and all the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man and all the nations of earth shall mourn when they see Him coming in the clouds of heaven in all His power and glory."
But of all the signs of His coming, the greatest Jesus told them was this: "The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and then the end will come." And then Jesus warned the disciples not to be deceived by people claiming to be the Christ, who were false messiahs.
We've all heard of cult leaders who have deceived large numbers of people by warning them that the end was near. Their followers gathered on a mountain top, a ranch or in some far away jungle, simply because they had been tricked by some fanatic into believing that God had told him to take them into seclusion to await the end. Jesus was so accurate in His prophecy that some so-called preachers would use disasters to proclaim that the end is near. We Christians mustn't get caught up in the panic associated with catastrophes, which have been, and will continue to be, the kind of things that happen in an imperfect world.
As I said earlier, we want the best players we can get. Giving up things is not all that is expected of athletes in training. They have to exercise and work out every day in order to keep their muscles toned. They study the rules and plays of the game so they won't bring a penalty on the team. Then, they sit down with their coach and figure out their strategy so they can reach their goal in spite of the opposition.
There's a lot of work, even in play. Almost any game you think of takes work. The bigger the game, the harder the work. And we need a coach. Take a moment to think about the big game which each one of us has to play, whether we want to or not! It's the great game of life. Some of us are good players and others are not.
Jesus is a wonderful coach in this game of life. He wants the people on His team to train so they will be the best players they can be. Like any coach, there are some things He asks you not to do. He asks you not to be evil minded, not to envy, not to steal or kill. He asks you to exercise every day in purity, in faith, in prayer, so that your spiritual muscles will be strong. And He asks you to study His rule book, the Bible. Don't be the person who loses in the game of life because you didn't train. "Whoever stands firm to the end will be saved."
Let us pray: Dear Lord, we ask Your blessing on the game of life we play every day. Give each one of us the courage to play the game in a way which by our words and actions is pleasing to You. We ask You to bless each one of us. Keep us under the protection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and help us be aware of His presence with us as we participate in the game of life. Amen.
CLOSING HYMN: #267 Rejoice The Lord Is King
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
POSTLUDE: Nancy & Norm
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