• Rossendale Circuit

Taking Risks For God - Sunday Service 15.11.20

with Revd. David Burrow


Taking Risks for God - Video Service


View directly in youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 327 'Immortal, invisible, God only wise'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fff2xQETe1c


MP 602 'Sing we the King who is coming to reign'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2VboZhk6rE

no lyrics but it is from Ghana!


Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


MP 463 'May the mind of Christ my Saviour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRTLocMzTvs


Hymn: 'O boundless Salvation':

It’s based on the image of the ocean as the all- encompassing redeeming love of Christ flowing over us by William Booth, the Salvation Army Founders. A message for our current anxious time. Thank you to Leonard for drawing our attention to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWqvtRXLogc a traditional version with lyrics.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyr1-JXmI2w a more recent version with a new twist.


Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


'Take this moment sign and space'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymXD_4R292Q


MP 315 'I will sing the wondrous story'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDPCFbAysBc (Congregational Version)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZN9mnbMv1s (Acoustic Version)


Part 4


Hymns & Songs:


Song: African Credo: 'I believe'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLxKgBHCIUM


MP 708 'To God be the glory'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-15v9iworAU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD_9P9DB4pw

(Stuart Townend version)



Transcript


Transcript is not always exact wording to the video service.


Notices: churches are closed, hopefully reopening in December.

Advent is around the corner and I hope to have some news of what will be on offer during the lead up to Christmas. Plus, if you have any ideas of how we can celebrate Christmas while staying safe, please let me know.


I’m not sure why this came to mind this week, but I was reminded for some reason about a trip I made to Ghana in 2008. The purpose of the trip was to visit some schools, an orphanage and to link up with the relatives of a Ghanaian family who attended my friend’s church in Manchester. We took with us lots of things which the schools and the orphanage struggled to source in Ghana as well as football shirts, footballs, maps and even books – which limited our personal luggage allowance, but we survived. I learned a great deal from the people we met and I want to begin our worship in the way one of the minister’s there taught us. It’s a wonderful affirmation of our commitment to worship the God who loves us.


When two people fall out, in Ghana, they are reconciled by offering their left hands to one another. The left hand is nearer than the right to our heart: in effect, Heart is offered to heart.


God offers to us his left hand, his heart.


Will you reach out to God with your left hand, with your heart? Heart to heart?


Are you ready to pray? Yes!

Are you ready to follow Jesus? Yes!

Are you ready to love God? Yes!

Are you ready to love your neighbour? Yes!

Are you ready to welcome Jesus when he returns? Yes!

Are you ready to shout ‘Amen’? Yes!


So say it now. Amen!


Let us worship God together!


Photo by Cristofer Jeschke via Unsplash


Hymns & Songs:


MP 327 'Immortal, invisible, God only wise'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fff2xQETe1c



MP 602 'Sing we the King who is coming to reign'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2VboZhk6rE

no lyrics but it is from Ghana!


Prayers: Psalm 119:170-176


When I first started preaching, I was taught a model for prayer using the mnemonic ‘A.C.T.S.’ Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.


Each is found in this passage.


Adoration: Praise God for who he is and what he has done. ‘Let me live that I may praise you’ (vs 175).


Confession: Ask God’s forgiveness for anything that you have done wrong. ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep’ (vs 176).

Thanksgiving: Thank God for family, friends, and anything else you wish to. ‘My lips shall pour forth praise (with thanksgiving and renewed trust)’.

Supplication: Pray for yourself, your friends and others. ‘Let my supplication come before you’ (vs 170).


The Lord’s Prayer


Hymns & Songs:


MP 463 'May the mind of Christ my Saviour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRTLocMzTvs


Hymn: 'O boundless Salvation':

It’s based on the image of the ocean as the all- encompassing redeeming love of Christ flowing over us by William Booth, the Salvation Army Founders. A message for our current anxious time. Thank you to Leonard for drawing our attention to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWqvtRXLogc a traditional version with lyrics.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyr1-JXmI2w a more recent version with a new twist.


How are you with risk taking?


What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?


I didn’t know when I got in the sea one day in Papua New Guinea that there were sea snakes around, but when one swam past me . . . . . . . . I was soon back on the beach!

Reading Jesus’ parable about a very wealthy man going on a journey and leaving three of his slaves in charge of massive amounts of money sets all kinds of alarm bells ringing.


What an incredible risk he was taking. Jesus’ listeners would have been amazed.

Jesus often told parables, especially to his religious audiences, to shock them out of feeling that they were right about all things religious and spiritual.

In the reading we will hear in a moment Jesus was in the last week of his life and was warning his listeners about the end times, the time when he will return, which must have been hard for people to get their heads around as he hadn’t yet been crucified and resurrected. For him to speak of his second coming must have really blown their minds.


He had just told them the parable of the 10 bridesmaids; 5 were foolish and weren’t ready when the bridegroom arrived and so missed out on the wedding, but 5 were wise and were ready to join the party.


Likewise, when Jesus returns, he wants to find his people ready. Not simply enjoying worshipping together and with a nice social time afterwards but busy sharing the wealth he has entrusted to us through our words and actions.

What wealth, you may ask? The wealth that is the good news of God’s undeserved love, God’s grace, in Jesus.


Jesus longs to be able to say to all people on the day he returns, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, come and enter into my joy.” Jesus does not want anyone to have to face judgement. This parable is a warning about not being ready, just like the other two parables in Matthew 25. And as I have already said Jesus uses shock tactics to get his message across.


As you listen to the parable please remember that the word ‘talent’ means money, a lot of money!


A ‘talent’ would have been worth half a lifetime’s earnings for an average worker.

The slave who was entrusted with five talents had more than enough wealth to . . . well, you do the maths!


Those listening to Jesus would have wondered where this story was going as soon as they heard the first few sentences. No wealthy landowner did this kind of thing! It was far too risky! Enjoy the story.


Photo by Micheile Henderson via Unsplash


Reading: Matthew 25:14-30


“Here’s loads of my money, see what you can do with it”.


Would you be scared or excited? Stressed out or thrilled?


Well, two of the slaves were very keen to get on with making more money for their master. Not given any particular instructions they turned into financial entrepreneurs, doubled their money and became the heroes of the story.


They more than repaid their master’s generosity and the trust he had placed in them. He had taken a risk in trusting them, so they were happy to take plenty of risks to make even more money.


Sadly, the third slave was petrified. He was, in the words of one writer, "a mouse minded man". Perhaps the responsibility was overwhelming, or he lacked confidence in his own ability, or maybe, too scared to take a risk he decided to simply look out for his own wellbeing.


He played safe, aimed at nothing and as sure as eggs is eggs, he achieved nothing. There was no possibility of loss, but there was also no possibility of making any gains! The master obviously understood this slave’s limitations as he wasn’t given as much as the others; so, he didn’t have as much to lose.


Burying the money seems a little strange to us, but the banks were not trustworthy like ours (the crash of the 1980’s notwithstanding). To entrust money to a bank in Jesus’ day was a risky thing to do – the third slave wasn’t even willing to take that risk.

The slave rejected his master’s generosity.


He refuted his master’s trust in him, and he denied his own worthiness.

Mother Teresa once said that God doesn’t demand that we are successful, just that we are faithful.

If only the slave had followed this line of thinking.


Instead, he accused his master of being harsh. It’s an accusation that the master does not accept but simply repeats back to the slave.


In fact the master is not unjust; he had invested generously in his slaves and the third slave had failed to accept and recognise this obvious generosity. What he had been given was taken from him, and judgement followed.


Where does all this leave us? How do we understand this parable for today?


Firstly, it reminds us that one day, despite the long delay, Jesus will return, just as the master eventually did, to settle accounts with rewards and, if necessary, judgement.

Equally as important, Jesus paints for us, in the generosity of the master, a vibrant picture of the reckless generosity of God in giving himself to us in Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, and in the pouring out of His Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, the parable challenges us to open our lives up to God in order to be transformed by the good news of Jesus into people who are just as reckless and generous with God’s good news as God was in entrusting it to us.


As we wait for Jesus’ return, we are called not to bury the good news of Jesus, but to faithfully and lavishly spread it around.

Accept your master’s, God’s, generosity.

Accept the trust he has in you.

And recognise and celebrate that Jesus not only believed you are worth dying for but that, like the two heroes in the story, he wants you to enjoy a relationship with him. He wants you to share his joy.


To be ready for Jesus’ return does not involve endless discussion about when, where and how it might happen, but to live a life of faithful discipleship marked by a consistent willingness to share the good news of the kingdom with others.

So, go and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick; when the lockdown ends visit those in need and tell your family, your grumpy neighbour, in fact, anyone who doesn’t know Jesus, that God is a generous and loving God who wants them to share his joy. God took a risk in sharing with me and you, let’s take a few risks for him.


Photo by Loic Leray via Unsplash


Hymns & Songs:


'Take this moment sign and space'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymXD_4R292Q


MP 315 'I will sing the wondrous story'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDPCFbAysBc (Congregational Version)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZN9mnbMv1s (Acoustic Version)


Intercessions:


We pray for the world, the church, and our community.


The world: All suffering and trying to come to terms with the coronavirus


The Church: November 15th is International day of prayer for the persecuted Church.


Prayer areas from church members:

I have prayed constantly for mercy for us all, while also thanking God for all the many blessings we have received during these last months.


I pray for better understanding of many parts of the bible. I miss bible study/ house group discussions and sometimes just stick to the NT. Often start to pray but get distracted too easily- pray for forgiveness/ understanding.


Don’t forget to pray for yourself.


Blessing: May the Lord bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen


We finish back in Africa, in Nigeria, with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters with added incense...


Hymns & Songs:


Song: African Credo: 'I believe'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLxKgBHCIUM


MP 708 'To God be the glory'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-15v9iworAU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD_9P9DB4pw

(Stuart Townend version)


Stay Safe, God Bless

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Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com