Monday Spot 27th January 2020

           Sunday Morning Worship 

 

Our Meeting this Morning was led by CSM  Tim Scott .

The Band played  ” Make me a channel of your peace ” as introductory music , and it was a lovely tune to set the tone of the meeting

 

Today marked the last Sunday  that Tim would be our Corps Sergeant Major , as after 13 years he was stepping down from the role . It was fitting that Tim should end his time as CSM by leading worship today .

 

 

Song: 38                Jehovah is our strength  was our first song of the morning , which is linked to Psalm 46  

Tim told us he found it  was a great song  to hold on to.     

   

 

The Band  played an Andrew Blythe piece     “In God’s Presence” .  Band Master Nigel Lockwood introduced it to us and explained the tune combined  “Bow the Knee + all their is of me ” , two well known songs  

 

Heather Scott thanked the Band  for their contribution , and they had played beautifully .

Heather  commented that it felt like we had been brought into the perfect place to sing our next song  – Song: 353                Be still, for the presence of the Lord      accompanied by Lisa Davis on the Piano

Heather Prayed for the Corps, those present in the meeting and those away from us this morning , and then Heather introduced the Singing Company . 

( Future CSM ! )  Pelo introduced the Song  , called  – ” Why Worry ”  & Isabella told us it was based on Matthew 6: 25-34

 

Singing Company

 

Heather gave us the mornings Bible Reading                Psalm 119, v 129 – 136          

  our next song  was Song: 424                     ” I heard the voice of Jesus say ”      , and Tim told us he thought verse 2 was the key part of the song

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water: thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

 

following the offering we heard testimony   from   Martin Davis , which , with his permission I have reproduced here .

I wonder how many of us find it easy to share our faith outside of these walls? I can stand here in a room of other Christians and share all that God has done for me. I can talk about my experience of his love, his forgiveness, his sacrifice for me – that’s my testimony – but it always seems much more difficult at other times than it does on Sunday morning!

This time last week the Staff Songsters’ started its 40th year with a celebration at Regent Hall; I had the experience of marching along Oxford Street, with a band, holding a 12ft Salvation Army flag, in front of thousands of people – but even that seems relatively easy in comparison to the quiet but meaningful conversations we might have with non-believers.

Of course, it’s not all about what we say – we can show evidence of our faith through the way we act, through the way we treat people; things that rarely go unnoticed by those around us. I think some of the people I know who have no faith misunderstand it. They see any kind of religion just as a set of rules that restrict us and stop us from enjoying ourselves – they prefer the freedom that they think comes with ignoring all of that. It’s a challenge to me, as I’m sure it is to you too, to show others that knowing God doesn’t restrict our freedom – in fact, in my experience, it does the opposite. It’s a challenge to me to show the joy, the love and the peace that I know, and can only know, by knowing God.

I have here some metal cords – they’re quite flimsy; they don’t stand up on their own; but they’re not attached to anything. They’re quite weak and brittle – if you tried to tie something together with them, or maybe hang something on the wall, I think they would just break. In fact, on their own, I’m not sure they’re very useful for anything. What these actually are, are violin strings. If you take these metal cords, and bind them tightly to a violin, wrap them round and round the pegs, make sure they’re all in tune – they’re then capable of producing the most beautiful music.

On our own, we can achieve relatively little. It’s only when we’re bound to Christ, not doing our own thing, but staying close to Him – our potential becomes so much more. It’s my responsibility – and it’s each one of our’s responsibility, to communicate that to those around us. And influence the world around us for the better.

In Matthew 5, Jesus himself tells us the importance of sharing our own experience of God with others:

“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.

“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

I am the light. You are the light. Christ is the source of the light. Christ’s light never changes, but it’s my prayer for myself that it will be increasingly Christ’s light that I will reflect to those around me. I pray that that will be so for you as well.

 

The Songsters   message for the morning was               “You are the Light”

 

Bible thought.

I have copied the majority of Tim’s message below, it was hard to know what to reduce.

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I’ve decided to take a personal challenge to climb Everest this year. I’m not using any special equipment or training. Just wearing my normal working clothes. How am I going to manage it?

 

The idea is that I know the distance between each floor at work (3.6m) and I work on the 6th floor of the building I climb 21.6m every time I walk up the stairs instead of using the lift. If I count the number of times that I walk up the stairs I know that I will have to take the stairs 409 times by the end of the year to reach the same height as Everest (8848m). 

 

So, having this motivation and discipline, I will do myself some good, and hopefully will be able to hold a sensible conversation with colleagues when I get to my desk each morning, rather than having to sit down for 10 minutes to get by breath back. Just so you know, I’m currently at 482.4m, so I have quite a long way to go, but the I have imagined the view from the top of The Shard as I pretended to climb past that point.

 

So, I’m not really climbing Everest – and anyway, I believe there is often a queue to get to the top. Neither am I even going to the base camp at the bottom of the mountain, but I’ve heard from two different people who have been there that it’s a pretty special experience. What I am trying to do is to put something in my daily life that will do me some good, and maybe lead on to bigger things. It has just taken some imagination and self-discipline for me not just to take the easy route to my desk and get in the lift.

 

However, I might kid myself that by the end of the year I will have climbed Everest – but of course I’ll have done no such thing. Whilst taking the stairs instead of the lift is going to help my general fitness, if I wanted to climb a mountain it would take far more effort and preparation than just making a slight adjustment to my daily routine.

 

Surely it’s like this in my spiritual journey. Of course, it’s a good thing to read the Bible every day, and to engage with God in prayer. In developing that as a good habit, I’m going to benefit in my relationship with God, but to really experience His presence in my life, to understand what He wants me to do, and to really, really know Him doesn’t it have to be just more than a daily habit of reading a couple of chapters and a quick goodnight prayer at the end of the day?

 

Pastor Jeremy Myers wrote a message to his congregation: Even if you come every week and hear every Bible message that is given during the next year, and even if you receive something from God in every single one of those sermons, that’s only hearing from God 52 times this year.

 

And that’s just simply not enough. As important as it is to hear God’s Word preached, let me be the first to say that sermons are just not enough. 52 sermons a year will not do for you what you need.

 

If all you hear is a sermon a week, you will not gain victory over that sin in your life, you will not see power and effectiveness in your prayers, you will not gain that insight and wisdom into the difficult decision you are facing, you will never be able to handle with love that troublesome person at work, you will rarely hear from God. You will constantly feel empty and dry, and like God doesn’t speak to you, and your prayers aren’t accomplishing anything.

 

Sermons just aren’t enough. If the only spiritual nourishment you receive every week is the Sunday sermon, then let me put it bluntly, you are spiritually malnourished. I need to feed my soul, and you need to feed your soul and hear from God every single day.

 

It is my desire, it is the desire of this church, it is the desire of God, that each and every one of you read the Bible and pray every single day. That is what I want you to commit to this year. Why? “If you don’t read the Bible daily, and don’t memorize the Bible in part, and don’t linger over the Bible, and don’t meditate on it and remember it, if you don’t steep your mind in it, the best you can hope for is a weak Christian life. Weak Christians are vulnerable to false teachings, and to all kinds of trendiness. They blow this way; they blow that way. Weak Christians are especially vulnerable to trouble. So that when trouble comes, [or sickness comes, or trials and tribulations], a weak Christian can run from God.

 

You may think that these are harsh words, but I think we may all know or know of people who we thought were always going to be part of our fellowship only to drift away. One of the saddest comments I can hear about a person is – of course they used to worship with us, but they don’t go anywhere now…

 

I wonder if anyone has read a book by Mark Steele, entitled “Christianish – what if we’re not really following Jesus at all”. It’s quite a difficult read – not because there are lots of long words that I don’t understand, but because it discusses the impacts of lukewarm spirituality. He describes being a Christian as being a little Christ.

 

Somewhere along the road, I stopped being a little Christ and instead began filling out the application that I had labelled Christian. It was not a definition based on the actual namesake, but rather on those who frequent the clubhouse. And in the midst of being a Christian amongst all the other Christians, I stopped truly searching the nuances of who Christ was and is in order to fully grasp what a little Christ might, indeed, act like. Certainly, I soaked in the Word of God in seasons. I knew the key stories – the greatest hits, the miracles, the Beatitudes, the Passion Week and whatnot. But I chose not to apply the reality of all the truth in between His words and actions into my own behaviour. I allowed Jesus to seep into my church world – but not my relational world, my romance world, my business world, my creative world, my habits, my mouth. I read His words, I learned His words, but I didn’t fully belong to Him. As a Church community, as a Salvation Army Corps, it is time we asked ourselves a startling question. What if we’re not really following Jesus at all?

 

In our reading from Psalm 119, the following words from verses 129 and 130 seem to jump out at me:

“Your teachings are wonderful; I obey them with all my heart. The explanation of your teachings gives light and brings wisdom to the ignorant”.

 

So, it’s not just enough just to read God’s word, we need to understand what the words mean to our lives and through them what God’s has in store for us if we truly follow Him. The book sort of reflects my spiritual journey, why I’m trying to delve deeper into God’s word to understand it more.

 

I remember a few years ago leading a meeting here and in my thoughts, referring to some documentaries about the second world war in the Pacific. There was some video of airfields that had been used, and I couldn’t understand how they had been used when they were being covered with jungle and trees. Then of course it was clear that back in 1945, the jungle was under control and there were no trees in the way because the area was being constantly maintained for aircraft operations. So, in modern times we know there was an airfield there, but it would take a lot of time and effort to allow it to be brought back into use.

 

This is another illustration as to why it is so important for us to engage in regular maintenance of our Christian life. It is easy to leave things alone, allowing weeds to grow up and suddenly we can’t be used by God for His purposes. 

 

I was really pleased when I found out the songs that the Songsters were going to sing this morning, as the verses remind me of Psalms. The first verse takes me back to Psalm 46, which we started our meeting with: ‘Fear sometimes may fill me, on and on I hear rumours of war’, and in the second verse, the words ‘I shall not want’ of course remind me of Psalm 23. Both Psalms remind us that God is there, caring for us and even if I just read those words, without any study, I find them immensely reassuring.

 

Psalm 119 again – this time verse 15 – “Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path”. So, if you read your Bible regularly – that’s great, but there’s so much more in His word. Greg reminded the band just a couple of weeks ago in the rehearsal devotional time that there are so many aids that can help – daily reading books, apps, bible study groups, etc. The Corps receives a regular supply of Our Daily Bread books, which come out quarterly and if you want one at no cost, please let us know.

 

Just as the people who I know who have made it to Everest base camp have describe the special experience of being there, they also have told me about the preparation and equipment that they needed. About the effort they needed to put in, and of the people in their group who never made it.

 

Last week, we considered the words in Ephesians Ch.3 v20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more that we might ask or think”, and Major Ian talked about how he wants a deeper prayer life – to make him different in 2020 than he was in 2019. How are we going to make 2020 different for us? To be effective here in the Corps, and as individual Christians we need God’s power within us, in a way maybe more than we can even think of. I don’t think that comes to us by just doing a little preparation – I believe we need to put some effort into what we are doing and what we want to achieve, and when we read the Bible, we really actively read into in, trying to understand the message that God has given us. Just as the people who make it Everest base camp, or even to the top of the mountain, the end result will be well worth the preparation and the journey.

 

For those who missed our meeting last week, there are still commitment cards available for you to take away and use as a reminder that God is in more than we can imagine. They are here on the Mercy Seat, so if you didn’t get one and want to have one, please feel free to come whilst we sing our next song or wait until after the meeting has ended.

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Tim brought the meeting to a close with the singing of the final two songs

Song: 30                He giveth more grace                Piano: 527

 

And

Song: 960                I’ll stand for Christ                Band: 692

 

Thank you to all who made worship possible today , and congratulations and thank you to Tim for his great service to the Corps

 

Please be advised of a coffee morning this coming Saturday

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