• Rossendale Circuit

God Sees Me - Audio service 21.11.21

with David Hollows

Audio Service

or watch/listen on youtube here.

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

Suggested Hymns & Songs:

'All things praise thee'


'Savior thy dying love.'


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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 week's service is entitled 'God Sees me' and you'll hear David Hollows begin the service now.

Make a joyful noise unto God all the earth, sing forth the honor and glory of his name, make his praise glorious. Say to God, how awesome and fearfully glorious are your works, through the greatness of your power shall all your enemies submit themselves to you and all the earth shall bow down to you and sing praises to you.

Many moons ago in a chapel way out in the countryside, the congregation had had weeks, days, hours, months of terrible, wet, grey, damp weather. It wasn't Rossendale. But this particular Sunday a preacher was appointed to lead this church service and this preacher was renowned for always in his prayers of praise and thanksgiving never complaining, never making a negativity, always thanking God for the positives. So some of the wise old members of this church congregation had been talking with them, with each other before the service, 'well what can he thank God for today after all this rain, and damp and cold?' We've got him. So the wise old preacher got up into the pulpit and started the service. And there was great anticipation when he came to the prayers of praise and thanksgiving, what will he thank God for today. So the preacher said to the congregation, 'brothers and sisters let us bow our heads in prayer' and he began, 'Lord God almighty, we thankyou that it doesn't rain everyday.'

So this is your time to thank God for all the many gifts that he has given into your hand. There'll be a few short ideas from me just to move us along. If there's something that you want particularly to give thanks for for yourself, whatever that is then pray out loud and we can share in that thanksgiving with you. Otherwise from the silence of your heart. So church, let us come to God with our prayers.

Almighty God on this the sixteenth day of this month, the Methodist church that you have given to your world gives you thanks for the ministry of the church in Pakistan and for the support it receives from partner churches. Great God we give thanks for the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, so diverse in its geographical features, resources, faiths and its people. God we give thanks for the ongoing work of the Methodist church in Ireland for its ministry and for those who serve. For the inspiration and encouragement that you give to those people as they seek new and more effective ways of being witnesses for you. Great God it is with profound thanks and praise that we bring you these our prayers, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Christians in northern Nigeria face a lot of threats, many have been bombed, homes and churches burnt to the ground but even so the church choirs in Nigeria still sing their praise to God. One persecuted Christian recently said, 'I like singing, because songs always strengthen my faith, anytime I'm singing I feel I am complete. The spirit is moving in me and I will sing the glory of God.

And so we receive now our two scripture readings for today, Shirley first please and then Val after. 'I don't think I can' 'Course you can!'

This Bible reading is from Genesis chapter 16, verses 7 to 14. 'The angel of the Lord met Hagar at the spring in the desert on the road to Shur and said "Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She answered, "I am running away from my mistress." He said "Go back to her and be her slave." Then he said, "I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them. You are going to have a son and you will name him Ishmael because the Lord has heard your cry of distress, but your son will live like a wild donkey, he will be against everyone and everyone will be against him, he will live apart from all his relatives." Hagar asked herself, 'Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it.' So she called the Lord who had spoken to her, a God who sees. That is why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered the well of the living one who sees me. Hagar bore Abram a son and he named him Ishmael, Abram was 86 years old at the time.'

The next reading is from John Chapter 15 verses 9 to 17. 'I love you just as the Father loves me, remain in my love, if you obey my commands you will remain in my love just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remained in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete, my commandment is this: love one another, just as I have loved you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them and you are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what his master is doing, instead I call you friends because I have told you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, I chose you and departed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures and so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. This then is what I command you, love one another.'

Photo by Daniil Kuzelev via Unsplash

Thankyou. Let's pray. Father we thankyou that you have invited us into this your house this morning to come and share in fellowship together. We thankyou for these hymns that we have sung, we thankyou for the prayers that we have been able to lift to you with our very humble and grateful hearts. And we thankyou father for your word so presented to us, and we ask now that through the power of your spirit you would take from us anything that would stop us hearing direct from your voice. For we ask this in the name of Jesus Amen.

Two very very contrasting scripture readings, the story of Hagar, from thousands and thousands of years ago and then those wonderful beautiful words of Jesus and if you need a text to hang the next few ideas upon then the text is taken from Genesis chapter 16 when Hagar quite simply refers to God as 'The living God who sees me.' The living God who sees me.

Because in the Bible and from a scriptural point of view when God sees that is often a way of interpreting that he remembers. Obviously he sees. Because he sees what happens on earth but in this instance when Hagar runs into the desert to escape Sarai and all that trouble and she's out there on her own in that very desperate situation facing basically what will be death because there's nothing around to support her. Our God sees this woman in distress and he remembers. The angel is sent to encourage and comfort her. And we never really know what happens to Hagar, we do know for example, that one of the world religious hangs itself on the destiny of her son, Ishmael. But we don't know what happens to her. We don't know her outcome. We don't know the rest of her life. Which is often the situation for so many of the Bible characters.

For example, God sees Joseph in prison. The steward who Joseph had interpreted a dream for, remembers Joseph in his cell and within hours Joseph transitions from prisoner to prime minister. Similarly God sees, remembers, the oppression of the Hebrews in Egypt and Moses is called to go set the Hebrews free and there are many many more examples in the Bible where God chooses, elects, selects, remembers, key people to do his will. Now the cynics might say, well of course God is going to do this. Of course he's going to select and elect and choose those he needs to deliver his plan of redemption and that includes you and me. Just think about your families and the number of people in your families who are not in faith and that doesn't make us a cut above the rest, that doesn't make us better than them. But it does give us an insight into the fact that we have been called and chosen by God and Jesus is very clear about that when he talks to the disciples.

But if we think that God selects for a particular purpose only then that is to misunderstand the heart of God that in his mercy and his love he wants the best for all, not just for the chosen few. We are called for a particular purpose and if we do not fulfil Gods will then one day, and Peter makes this very clear in his letter, we will stand before the throne of God and we will be judged.

The psalmist tells us that God remembers us in our need and thankfully he forgets our sins as far as the east is from the west, psalm 103. So there can be never any issue about how God sees us, warts and all and why, because we are his children, he knows the number of hairs on our head, if you've still got any, and he has an image of us in the palm of his hand. God sees and God remembers. And it's with confidence that Hagar as with many other Bible characters and Christians of faith in the thousands of years since have been able to hang their hope on the fact that God sees and God remembers.

So how does that link to those beautiful words of Jesus in chapter 15? Some of whom will have been used only on Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon in remembrance services in our own country and across the world. Because it is in those words that Jesus not only determines the relationship with his disciples, he upgrades them from servants, disciples, to friends. But he sees beyond that present into their future. He sees beyond the betrayal and the deceptions that will come, he sees them for their potential and their reality, of how and why they will serve.

As we grow older and our friends move on with or without us, there is often a great solace in the memories that we treasure of those friends and those we love, for who they were and what they did for us when we had those relationships. And it is really comforting for us to know that in chapter 17 of Johns gospel Jesus prays not only for the disciples that he has around him but for all those who will come into a relationship with him in the future. How wonderful that our savior prayed for us 2000 years ago when we were just part of God's plan. And it's reassuring to know as well that Jesus sat at the right hand of almighty Father God, still remembers us, sees us in our daily struggles and in our joys and he prays for us from his side of eternity.

Hagar said "You are the living God who sees me" But how do you see God? How do you see Jesus? Because the Bible is absolutely littered with many many titles that are attributed for both God the Father and God the son. Because you see when the world has gone away and we are all alone and it's just us and God because of what Jesus achieved on the cross and through the relationship of the holy spirit, God still sees us and remembers us. He knows us for who we are, he recognises our needs, he continues to share with us in the good times and in the struggles and he encourages us so that when people see us, hopefully, prayerfully, they will see him.

My prayer for you and for all of us is that as we travel through this day and the rest of our time here on earth, before we are promoted to the glory of heaven that we will continue to see our God and to allow God to see us, that through us and all that he does in us and through us, he might draw others to him. Amen.

As we come to our prayers of intercession for other people, perhaps people that you know, situations in the world that you see on the tv or in the news we're going to do our prayers slightly a bit differently today, and so you've received a pen and I do assure you that they work, I tried them last night. And a yellow candle and all I ask you to do please is on your yellow candle, just to write down a couple of words or a prayer, a name of a person or a situation that you would like to be prayed for today. You can fill it or just put one word on it it's entirely up to you. And then when I think we've done I'm going to come round I'm going to ask you to put the pen and the candle in the basket, I'm going to then mix them all up and then we're going to redistribute the candle and you're going to take that candle away with you and ask you to use that prayer in the next few days, is that ok? Right so off you go, do the scribing bit on your candle, whatever prayer you want for other people. Could have done with a shuffler couldn't we? 'Croupier'

Ok, let's come to God with our prayers and then I'll come round and you'll just take the one on the top. Again we're going to use prayers from the Methodist handbook as we pray for our world. So let's pray. Father we pray this morning for your church and no matter what brand out there in Bangladesh and in Pakistan, for Lord we know that Christians in those two countries in particular really do find it hard to hold onto faith because of the persecution that they face day by day. Father we pray for the persecutors that they will be filled with your love and grace and their whole lives be completely turned around as you bring them into your kingdom. And we pray for our brothers and sisters, of the Methodist church in Ireland and for all that they do to build your kingdom in that country. And Lord we pray our own prayers for those people and those situations that you have laid on our hearts. And so we bring our prayers with the words that Jesus gave us to say together, 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 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.

So as we go from God's house but never from his presence we go with his blessing, may God bless you with his peace, fill you with his hope and surround you with his love, this day and forever more, Amen.

Thankyou for listening and 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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