• Rossendale Circuit

Fishing With Jesus - Audio Service 15.05.22

with Revd. David Burrow

Audio Service

Or watch on youtube here.

Subtitles available on the video, please click the 'cc' button.

Suggested Hymns and Songs:

'The Lord is my Shepherd' Katherine Jenkins


'The Lord's my Shepherd' Stuart Townend Version


'Be still for the presence of the Lord'


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Hello and welcome to this audio service by the Rossendale Methodist Circuit what you'll hear shortly is a recording of a service that usually takes place at Longholme Methodist Church in Rawtenstall on Tuesday Mornings at 10am, this is a live recording so do expect some background noise although we've tried to reduce this as much as we can, the hymns unfortunately have to be removed for copyright reasons, but we've suggested some links to versions of the hymns below this video, this weeks service is entitled 'Fishing with Jesus' and you'll hear Revd. David Burrow begin the service.

So our worship this morning begins with the words of Psalm 23. And it's a well known psalm, but as we listen to it again, maybe we think, we can think about how God is near to us at all times. At all times. I have a daily prayer that I do every morning. And it tells me at the beginning, always to focus on the presence of God. So I'm sitting there the other morning thinking, this is really difficult. Is something supposed to change? And then I thought, well God's always present. Remembering something David said a few months ago. And so all I have to do is focus my thoughts on the things of God because I know he's present anyway. But sometimes, you need to be reminded of these things, don't you? To, to bring you back to your senses almost, we make things too complicated.

So Psalm 23, which is lovely and simple. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. For you are with me, your rod and your staff. They comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

So let us pray. Almighty and wonderful God. We do thank you and praise you for your presence with us here this morning. Your presence with us at every moment of every day and help us Lord always to remember that you are just a breath away. And so we thank you for your presence, as we come to bow before you with reverence and fear. For we recognise that we are on holy ground when we are in your presence. And we thank you for your glory. A glory that shines all around. We see it in the wonder of your creation. We see it in the beauty of the people we meet. We see it in one another. Lord, we thank you that your power is present to heal, to cleanse and to minister.

And so we come to you in faith knowing that through Jesus Christ, we have the one who is not only our friend and our brother, but is our saviour too. And we thank you Lord. That through his death on the cross he has overcome the power of sin. And through his resurrection, death itself lies defeated. And as we repent of sin or anything that separates us from you, we thank you that you reach out to us in grace and in mercy. So in the stillness, we offer our prayers of confession. The risen Lord Jesus Christ says to us, 'Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace and sin no more.' Loving Heavenly Father, we rejoice in our forgiveness. We celebrate your goodness and mercy. And we offer you our lives once again in your service, to be used by you to bring in your kingdom to be used as instruments of peace, of joy, the good news of Jesus Christ crucified, died and risen. And we offer our prayers in his precious name. Amen.

We are still in the Easter season of course. As we move towards the ascension, and eventually it's Pentecost. So I wanted to stay with some of the Easter resurrection appearances during this time. And we're going to go to John, John's Gospel, chapter 21. And just the first 14 verses and it starts off, After these things.' After what things? We may well ask, well after all the resurrection appearances, of course, and all that had been going on before. So, 'After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples by the sea of Tiberius, and he showed himself in this way, gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee. The sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." And they said to him, "we'll go with you". They went out and got into the boat but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak Jesus stood on the beach but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered "no". And I wonder how they said that no or no! So he said to them, "cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find them," so they cast it and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish, that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "it is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that he was the Lord he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and he jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about 100 yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it, and bread. And Jesus said to them, "bring some of the fish you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard, and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them and though there were so many, that net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now, none of the disciples dared to ask him, who are you? Because they knew he was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and did the same with the fish and this was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.' Amen.

Photo by Mike Burke via Unsplash

So after, after all the other resurrection appearances that John has referred to and some of the other writers have referred to. Jesus appears on the shores of the sea of Tiberius, the sea of Galilee. And there are seven disciples Simon Peter, Thomas, the twin Nathaniel from Cana, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and two others, possibly Philip and Andrew, but we don't know for sure. But there are seven and apparently, and interestingly, Roman law required seven witnesses for a story to be believed. Wouldn't you know, how these things come together. Nathaniel from Cana, of course, reminds us of that first sign that was recorded by John in John chapter two, when Jesus turned water into wine, a super abundance, very typical of the generous nature of God. So it's interesting that Nathaniel is there to remind us at the very end of John's gospel, what happened at the beginning of Jesus's first miracle, his first sign. But anyway, let's just get back to the story. Peter, we all know about Peter, he wasn't one for sitting around doing nothing was he, he was a man of action. And waiting to meet with Jesus again, where, as Jesus told them to wait, was probably not something that came very easy to him. So he said well, I'm going fishing. Got to do something haven't you? Got to eat, keep the wolf from the door. And they all went off together. Well, we'll come with you, they said. But there's a sense of deja vu here, maybe because they caught nothing. A night's fishing and they caught nothing. It had happened before remember, yeah, when Jesus had told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. Well, here we are again.

I just wonder, you know, I wonder a lot, how often we miss out on Jesus calling us. Perhaps we're sometimes so involved in our work or in our play. We forget to keep an ear open for Jesus. Because Jesus is as I said at the start always nearer than we give him credit for, he's always there ready to listen. Always ready to guide, always ready to offer a direction to us, always ready to encourage us. So these disciples, off they went fishing pretty much doing what they'd done every working day working night for years before, it was a case of return to your regular lives almost in a sense, with no particular expectations. So here they were followers of Jesus, busy about their everyday business doing what they needed to do, to eat as they obediently waited as Jesus had told them to.

So back to waiting, it can be a difficult task. How good are you at waiting? Terrible. Anybody else terrible at waiting? Are you quite good? No. Doctors, hospitals, buses, trains, that don't come, traffic jams. Some of them, they're a bit varied aren't they some of them. Waiting for something to start on the telly that you've been really looking forward to. FA Cup Final this weekend. No? No no. Yeah. I always look forward to that. It's York races this week. York races? Yes it is York races this week as well isn't it. But just waiting and thinking that, ah there's nothing to do can be really really difficult. So I guess that's probably why some people find it difficult to wait on God you know, the actual idea of waiting, and think well that's a bit of a tiresome thing to do. But waiting on God is something that's so important, to be still in God's presence, to spend time waiting for God to speak to us. And if we have our Bibles with us, that's even better because you know, God speaks to us very clearly through his word in all kinds of ways. But he also speaks through other people too, of course, and experiences and creation, as we've mentioned, but that need to wait on God it's good discipline to have and to spend that time waiting. Back to the disciples again, it was Daybreak they're exhausted, fished all night, nothing to show for their, for their labours. And it seemed perhaps that they'd lost their touch. They couldn't even get that right now, you know, life had been turned upside down for them.

So I wonder again, how often do we work hard for God. Been faithful in everything we do, but we see no results. We see church membership decline. So we work harder. We try and do more things. But there's no obvious results. We try and set up different groups. We try this, we try that, we just work so hard, trying to be faithful. I wonder if there's a missing ingredient? A missing ingredient. Maybe we haven't listened closely enough for Jesus' word of direction. Cast your nets on the right side of the boat. So sometimes maybe we need to think about that. And listen very carefully for what Jesus has to say for us, every revival that there's ever been began in prayer, and a time of waiting on God. As I said before, Jesus is always ready to encourage and to offer comfort. And when Jesus told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, they they did so without hesitation and the net overflowed with fish. So typical of Jesus to speak so gently but with authority and John recognised it. It is the Lord. And I wonder how he said that, IT'S THE LORD! or was it (whispered) It's the Lord. A real sense of awe and wow. This story is so beautifully told, you know, we can almost picture Peter pulling on his clothes, jumping into the water and splashing his way through that last 100 yards to the beach. Wanting to get to his risen Lord. Meanwhile, the other six are bringing in the boat which is full of fish. I wonder if you can smell the smoke at the charcoal fire and the smell of the fish cooking on it. Can you feel the heat from that fire? Maybe even taste the bread and the fish? Recognising Jesus is exciting it is awe inspiring. How did they recognise him? Perhaps it was the way he spoke to them, 'children you have no fish have you?' It's a statement of the obvious really. But there's that children. A sense of care, compassion, and love, 'children, you have no fish have you?' It's almost like he's empathising with them. They've had a really tough night and they've got nothing to show for it. So perhaps it was Jesus's way of speaking and his character shines through that that gave him away because they obeyed him without hesitation and then of course there's the results of their obedience, this record catch of fish, 153, somebody sat down and counted them. And if I'd been there, it would have been me. I always have to count them. When we were away last week, there was a flock of geese in the field. I had to stop and count them. I wonder how many there are. Took me a while because they kept moving, not like a load of dead fish on the beach. They were flapping around and making lots of noise. But 153 fish a superabundance, the nets didn't break. Remember last time when Jesus had done this miracle. The nets broke, now why John tells us that the net didn't break. Maybe it's something about the kingdom here, the kingdom will not break it's ready to take all people, all people.

So Jesus spoke, it's typical of him isn't it to spin gently but with authority, as I said. And I wonder how, again, I wonder, how do you and I recognise the authentic presence of Jesus. Are we looking for Jesus's presence in the words and the actions of others in daily events? In creation there is ah that's a lovely sunset, and then walk away, or do we see the hand of the artist being God of course, at work in that sunset? Do we see the hand of the God who created us, who created technology as well, you know, in the computer? Not when it goes wrong. But God understands those things. I've said quite a lot of prayers over my computer recently. Please make it work properly.

Do we recognise the hand of God at work, the voice of God in our daily lives. Are we looking for it, expecting it, this is the thing isn't? There's something of the fruit of people's actions that reminds us of the character of God. Just as the fruits of Jesus's words, the wonderful catch of fish, allowed those disciples to recognise Jesus himself. It is the Lord. This wonderful story. It carries this wonderful mark of authenticity, the detail of the net being so full they couldn't land the catch and yet the net wasn't broken. Jesus' charcoal fire burning on the beach and his invitation to the seven to bring some of their fish and join him for breakfast. Cold tired and hungry, his disciples have their needs met by Jesus, their physical needs, but he did more than that didn't he. Far more than that. And he does far more than that for us. The disciples were lost for words. They would have loved to ask Jesus, Is it really you? But perhaps that question seemed a little bit trite. A little bit silly. They knew it was really him and yet there was a hesitancy about them, so Jesus as if to answer their unasked question, came and took the bread and gave it to them and then did the same with the fish. It was a simple meal. Yet the host was the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the resurrected creator of the cosmos, showing that he was indeed alive by eating with his friends. John writes what he remembers because he was there and it reads as a first hand account doesn't it of someone who was there on that beach with all its detail. But then there's this wonderful simplicity and intimacy about the meal that speaks to us and reminds us of the Last Supper, it's almost as if Jesus to finally convince them that he really was there, does something that he had done many times before in their three years together. He took the role of the host, the host at the meal and he blessed the food and he shared it with his friends and Jesus does the same for you and I today. The risen Lord Jesus is the host at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation. Whenever we sit down together, Jesus is present with us. And we need to recognise his presence. When we do, like his disciples, we will respond in worship and in prayer. And when we come together to share Holy Communion, Jesus shares with us the bread and the wine, his body and his blood, given for us. For us, who are his friends. Amen

Let us pray. Risen Lord Jesus we thank you so much that you are indeed the host of every meal. You are the silent listener to every conversation. Help us always to be aware of your presence, to acknowledge that presence. Maybe with a silent prayer, maybe with a prayer spoken out loud, and Lord may we be aware at all times that you are with us and it doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing or the times are difficult, or whether it's times of rejoicing. You long to share in it with us. So we thank you that you are our Saviour, our brother and our friend. And Lord as we pray we offer our prayers for those who are in need. We remember the people again of Ukraine, once more we pray for peace, we join our prayers with countless other prayers around the world, who just long to see peace reign in that nation. And Lord we pray not just for the people of Ukraine but for the people of Russia. That truth would be out. That people might recognise where lies have been told and truth has been buried, we pray against the powers of darkness that seek to spread war and suffering and pain. We pray for the coming of your Holy Spirit into that place bringing healing and wholeness and strength. Lord Jesus you are the prince of peace and we pray for peace and Lord we pray for your church. Especially your church, the Orthodox Church, across the Ukraine and Russia divided as it is now. We pray for a movement of your Holy Spirit in the lives of the leaders of those churches that might bring them together to speak out for troops and for justice. To stand bravely against those who spread lies. And Lord, we do not judge because we don't know how we would be in such a similar situation. But we pray for the church leaders and ask you to strengthen them. Father we thank you that church is your body and that when one part suffers all suffer. So as our brothers and sisters are suffering, so we long to help them through our prayers, through our giving, in any which way we can, show us we pray, direct us and guide us in all that we can do.

And Lord God we pray for our own people and we especially pray in this moment for those whom we know and love who need your presence in their lives today in all kinds of ways. Pray for Jack's family as they grieve his loss, but we thank you for his life, lived to the full as one of your evangelists. One of those never afraid to proclaim the good news of Jesus, a gracious and humble man who served his Lord to the full. And in the stillness we bring our own prayers to God. And so we join all our prayers as we come together to share the prayer that Jesus 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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.

Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed the service. You can find us online on www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please do let us know what you thought of this service in the comments below. And you can always contact us by email at rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com.

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