‘At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow’ was the corporate worship in song to begin the day, followed immediately by an introduction to the period of Self Denial into which we are now entering.
The song ‘Christ for the world we sing’ prepared the congregation for the DVD clip which followed launching the appeal before Junior Soldier Katelyn Smith offered prayer. Scripture chosen was from Matthew 15:21-28 and paved the way for the Singing Company (children’s choir) to bring its contribution to the meeting (Run the race – written by our own Emma Davis).
The ministry from the Songsters was ‘I will wait’ before Major Karen delivered her message on the theme of ‘Life made her tough – now you can make her strong’, saying (summarised):
The Self Denial Appeal has stood the test of time and we continue to see a major difference in our own lives as well as we see it in other communities. Our challenge is this. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, what does he require of us?
Have you watched TV’s DIY – SOS, where others come into your house and put right the things you have done wrong? How would you feel if a builder came here to this building and replaced the walls with beams so that it became more open. We can be very uncertain when opening up,our lives to Jesus.
Jesus commended the Canaanite woman for her faith. The lowering of the sick man through the roof is another example of great faith recounted in scripture. There are many others including the centurion who asked for healing for one of his soldiers. Jesus also chastised his own disciples for their lack of faith on occasions. How often do we even come close to having a strong faith? In the Christian life it is us ourselves who need faith. The Canaanite woman had heard about Jesus and his healing powers and she had faith enough to put the life of her daughter on the line.
Compassion is as much a requirement as faith. This is a decreasing factor in modern life but we should take our pattern from Jesus who was compassionate to everyone. We have a part to play in bringing Jesus to the fore in these days. He can d so much with just a little. If we offer the small amount that we have he can multiply it many times over. Give with joy and gladness and understand what you are doing. Be on your guard against ‘false prophets’. Enjoying Christian company is helpful in developing understanding of our mission.
We need to see Jesus heal, his church grow and ourselves making a difference to the hungry, the poor and the outcast. We need a greater understanding of those in great need. This is what we are called to.
Faith without doing is not enough! This time of Self Denial is one in which we can consider our own position. We will be challenged. We can respond positively to these challenges.
The reflective song ‘My life must be Christ’s broken bread’ allowed the congregation time to consider the message before ‘Let earth and heaven agree’ concluded the worship.
‘Dare to be different’ was the song used to begin the evening worship under the leadership of Lisa and Jeremy.
Prayer time included a song (Hide me now) from the newly formed worship group.
The first of three scripture readings was from Luke 14;26-35. The Songsters ministered with ‘Godspell’ before Jeremy brought the first of three short talks, saying (summarised):
The bible is full of quotes about rejoicing. Human nature, however, seems to be happier recounting bad news than to be encouraging. There are amazing promises in scripture and we are commanded to be joyful at all times and in all circumstances. Bad times are temporary. No matter what the issue is it will pass. Our boat will not sink. So we must rejoice, smiling at each other wherever we are. Spread love everywhere you go.
A time of personal testimony followed together with the favourite children’s song , ‘Jesus bids us shine’ before further scripture was read from Matthew 5:3-17 and the Band contributed ‘He’s got the whole world in hid hands’.
Jeremy brought his second short talk saying (again summarised):
In our Wednesday evening bible studies we have recently been looking at the Beatitudes as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. We have reached an agreement that we are in the world to make a difference, to be salt and light in our society. We are called to be a contrast to those around us. Its a sad thing that many whom I have personally known as Salvationists in days gone bye, no longer feel it is a place where they find contentment. As a movement we need to discover why this is. If we don’t address this we will certainly die. Our study of God’s word must evolve and if it does, so will we. We must not be afraid of change. I believe that many of those who have left us have done so because they did mot feel loved or valued. We must meet this challenge and love one another as Christ taught us.
The final scripture reading (Hebrews 10:19-26), the song ‘I want to serve the purpose of God’ and a short video showing how one preacher believed a ‘movement’ was started brought us to the last of Jeremy’s talks in which he said (yes, you’ve guessed- summarised):
When looking at the video it is clear that the first follower is most important. We should note that Jesus’ disciples were called from their normal way of life. They were to be different and obedient to this call and to be the salt and light in the world of their day. We ourselves must be happy to create a movement of happiness. We must stop hiding our light and shine out before men so that the world will see us so. We must return to the days when our movement was a happy one. I confess, there are times when I, personally, have not been happy enough.. How are you at radiating happiness? Faith is not about duty but about knowing that the storms of life will come to an end. So, thank the Lord. We are blessed beyond measure.
‘I’ll go in the strength of the Lord’, a song often used to conclude worship, brought the day to an end.
Once again we are grateful to those of you who have stuck with us to the end of this post and we hope you will come back again soon. In the mean time have a great week. God bless you all.