• Rossendale Circuit

Trust and Obey - Sunday Service 21.02.21

With Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Watch directly on youtube here.



Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 385 Jesus the name high over all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSeAYKG-8Ko


MP 400 Lead us, heavenly Father lead us

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGsvbqErM2A


StF 240

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vo5kYaKgmM



Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


MP 760 When we walk with the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IDJQivWjdc


MP 287 I love you Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g2HGyFIg8A



Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


Blessing as a song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxUAeTDW3c0


MP 143 Fight the good fight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YppcFC8mxKM


MP 1259 Bless the Lord, O my soul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E



Want to talk more about something in this service? Have any worries or issues you want to discuss with someone?


Email us on: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com and your email will be passed on to the appropriate person. Stay Safe.



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Our Website: https://www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk/


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com





Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos


Welcome:


At the beginning of Lent we contemplate the journey Jesus took to the cross. Although we know how the story ended, with power, glory and wonder on that first Easter morning it is good to walk with Jesus to try and understand something of his suffering, and of his faith, trust and hope which sustained him and helped him to remain obedient to his heavenly Father.

We pray that we too might experience, and hold on to the same faith, trust and hope to sustain us, not only through the wilderness of Covid-19 but all the wilderness experiences which we know will come our way in 2021.

We begin the journey this week with Jesus’ time in the wilderness following his baptism and we commence our worship with words from Psalm 103 reminding ourselves of who God is and who we are.


The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

For he knows how weak we are. He remembers that we are only dust. Psalm 103:13-14


Almighty God, we come to you at the beginning of Lent remembering who we are, but so thankful that you are our Father, and you love us.

We come seeking change, seeking renewal, seeking your Spirit of transformation to work amongst us and within us.

We pray that you will be with us in the wildernesses of this year.

As we remember Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness, we stand with those going through their wilderness experience.

We come to you in worship and thanksgiving, to pray, to sing, to reflect, and to be still;

we come, knowing that we are far from perfect and have fallen short of your glory:

we come, with responsibilities and regularly facing temptation; be with us in the wildernesses of this year.

We stand together with all the individuals, families and communities who have been ravaged by Covid 19 and other diseases that rage around the world, be with us all in the wildernesses of this year.

Thank you for your compassion, grace and mercy, for your forgiveness and for accepting us as we are. In you and you alone we place our trust as we seek to obey your calling in our lives.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being present with us always by the power of your Spirit – in the wildernesses and today in our worship.

We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen


Lord’s Prayer


MP 385 Jesus the name high over all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSeAYKG-8Ko


MP 400 Lead us, heavenly Father lead us

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGsvbqErM2A


StF 240

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vo5kYaKgmM


Photo by Simon Moog via Unsplash


When he was baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, Jesus saw heaven torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove, and he heard his Father's voice: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."


How do you follow that?


Reading: Mark 1:12-15

Message: Trust and Obey

As soon as I say the words, ‘trust and obey’ I am sure that many of you have immediately got a certain hymn in your heads and perhaps you’ve even begun to sing it. Bear with me for a few minutes and you will get your chance.

‘When we walk with the Lord’ used to be a hymn that I used to think was a little bit of Victorian sentimentality but as I have matured as a Christian and actually looked carefully at the words, I have come to realise why it is so popular. It was written around 1886, Dwight L. Moody was leading a series of meetings in Massachusetts. At one of the meetings, it is said that a young man got up and said, “I am not quite sure, but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey”.

It was Daniel Brink Towner who told the story to his friend, J. H. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister, who promptly wrote the chorus and then the verses. Towner then wrote the tune and ever since the words and tune have been inseparable. The young man who declared his willingness to trust and obey, even in the face of uncertainty, took a wonderful step of faith.

When the hymn speaks of burdens and sorrow, of toil, grief and loss and then of a cross all being blessed as we trust and obey, we begin, I think, to see something of Jesus’ experience in the wilderness and throughout his ministry.

Jesus lay everything on the altar, even his life, as he trusted himself to his Father in faithful, trusting obedience.


Becoming a Christian and being filled with the Spirit, and then being tested, tempted, and often having to suffer as you obediently got on with witnessing was almost an everyday story for Mark's readers. Mark wrote some 30 or so years after Jesus' death and resurrection.

In fact, daily persecution was the experience of the Church for the first 300 years of Christianity, just as it is in many countries today.


Baptised by water and the Spirit into Christianity from Judaism, other faiths, paganism, or from no religion at all Christians then and now were, and are, immediately in danger of persecution and even death.

The trials, testing, and persecution Christians suffered was a type of wilderness experience.

Would their faith, their willingness to trust and obey God stand up to the test?

More often than not, it did. Their faith was proved and tested in the fire of persecution, but they were always ready to proclaim the Good News of the love of God in Christ Jesus. Such was their trust and their willingness to obey God.


For me, and I hope for you, the question then arises, ‘Can I, as many Christians do today, identify with Jesus’ willingness to trust and obey?’

Can I possibly live in the same way?


Let’s return to the Bible passage to help us along the way.

Please notice that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, tested and tried - the Greek means all of these things.

Jesus did not seek this experience, but he was faced with the question, how would he use his power?

Would he set up a dictatorship by force, as Satan wanted, or set up a reign of love, even if it led to a cross?

Jesus had to decide; would he trust and be obedient to God?

It was a question he faced many times during his ministry.

Remember how his family wanted to take him home because they thought he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21)?

The people of Nazareth, people Jesus had grown up with, refused to believe him (Mark 6:1-6). Peter tried to persuade Jesus that he would never suffer and die, (Matt. 16:22 &23).

Judas Iscariot betrayed him. Peter, his closest friend denied knowing him and Jesus was left alone to stand before the power of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish religious council). He was left alone to face Pilate, and Herod. Jesus was tortured, nailed to a cross and forsaken by God.


Each of these experiences, and there were many more besides, were times of testing and temptation.

Each time Jesus had to decide: would he trust and obey God, or would he give in to his family, to his friends, to Caiaphas, to Pilate, to Herod, even to the soldiers? Would he go home with his mum? Would he listen to Peter? And ultimately, would he save himself from death?

Every time Jesus chose to trust and obey God.



I wonder at which point I would have decided to give in to the temptation to pack it all in and go home? At which point would I have said, "I give in, I've failed the test, the temptation to stop is too great"?


We need to be careful here with our use of words.

I mentioned earlier that test, trial and temptation are all possible translations of the one Greek word. So, we need to make sure we understand how we are using the English words.


There are two kinds of temptation.

The first comes from within us. Because of our sinful nature we are tempted to say and do things that go against God.

Paul gives us a long list in Galatians 5:19-21, they include selfish ambition, envy, lust and rage. How many of those can I identify with?

Matthew (26:41), Mark (14:38) & Luke (22:40, 46) all warn us to pray that we will not enter into temptation by our own carelessness or disobedience, but thankfully, if we do, God, who is faithful, always provides a way of escape so that we can endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)

Remember, to be tempted, is not a sin. It’s good to know that Jesus was tempted, but he, of course, never succumbed to the temptation.


The second kind of temptation is better called a trial or test.

Sometimes we are tested by God, as Jesus was, to test our faith, so that we can grow as Christians.

When I was in the sixth form at school, I played for the rugby third team. One day I was promoted to the second team. At first, I was fearful of dropping down again, of failing the trial, but then I decided to obey my teacher’s judgement, trust my ability and try and make the first team. It was a test, but it was a great opportunity to further improve my skills. And one day I got the call. I was picked for the first team – sadly it only happened once.


To change the sport - all mountaineers begin on small rock faces. Even those who have climbed Everest. Each new rock face is a more difficult test, requiring new skills, building on what is already known. To watch a great mountaineer on a severe rock face is awesome.

To meet a Christian who has great faith is equally awesome.

In my own small way on the rugby field, the mountaineer conquering Everest and the Christian of great faith – we have only succeeded because we were or have been, tried and tested.


All Christians go through times of testing which come in all sorts of guises: persecution, tragedy, personal illness, times of worry and doubt; times when God seems a long way away; the list could go on. Each experience can feel as though you are in a wilderness.


Sometimes God sends us into the wilderness, at other times we end up there because something happens that we have no control over.

Either way we can feel terribly lost and alone.

Temptation from within. Testing from without.

Both can be used by God to strengthen us, to increase our faith, to bring us closer to God.


For a moment look back at your life. Bring to mind times when God felt far away, times when you were under pressure, times when you felt like you were being tested. What did you learn? Did your faith grow stronger because of your experience? Are you now able to face even greater challenges and tests?


And what about times of crisis? Did you allow God to use them to draw you closer to himself?


In all of these things Jesus has been there.

Jesus the pioneer of our faith blazed a trail of trust and obedience which provides the basis of our salvation.

His times of testing, of suffering, and his death were all for us, so that we too can face everything that life throws at us, even death itself.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can trust and obey. This can be a hard lesson to learn.

We can be so worried that we forget to pray.

We can feel so sorry for ourselves that we forget to take our eyes off ourselves and look to God. We can be so sure that we have been abandoned that we are ready to just give up.

Much can come between us and God.

The answer is always to be faithful; to pray when you don’t feel like praying, to worship when you would rather be somewhere else, to praise when things are rough, to focus on the times when you knew God was close.

All of this and more besides is summed up by saying, that when we are in the wilderness we must trust and obey. Easier said than done, but always keep your eyes fixed on the God who loves you.

Only through the sufferings and glory of Jesus can you and I be all that God created us to be. Jesus shared our suffering and our death so that we can share his glory.


We have begun our journey with Jesus through Lent towards the cross.

Sometimes we may find ourselves saying with the young man in Massachusetts, “I am not quite sure, but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey”.

So let us walk with the Lord in the light of His word, and let us trust and obey.


MP 760 When we walk with the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IDJQivWjdc


MP 287 I love you Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g2HGyFIg8A


Prayers of Intercession:

Today we pray for the strength to trust and obey our Lord Jesus in all things.


Lord, we pray for the restoration of our broken relationship with the environment. Help us care for your creation in all its wonder and beauty. Give us the courage to stand for what we know is right in the face of corporate power.

Lord, lead us in your truth, and teach us to trust and obey.

We pray that you would destroy relationships of inequality and injustice. Strengthen us, by the power of your Spirit, to build communities of love and peace. Forge and nurture love and compassion in us.

Lord, lead us in your truth, and teach us to trust and obey.

In the light of the ongoing pandemic we pray for those who have promised to care for, and love those who are sick: for all health, care and social workers, for chaplains and visitors.

We pray too for those who care for those in our prisons, for prison guards and probation officers.

Lord, lead us in your truth, and teach us to trust and obey.


We pray for broken families, broken homes, and hostile communities. Recall them to paths of love, trust and faithfulness. We pray for your Spirit to move in power over the chaos and bring peace and wholeness.

Lord, lead us in your truth, and teach us to trust and obey.


Lord where your Church is torn apart, we pray for its healing.

Where your Church is strong, give it humility and the wisdom to use its strength wisely.

Where your Church is persecuted, tried and tested, give it the courage to speak boldly of your love and keep the rest of us faithful in prayer for our suffering brothers and sisters.

Where your Church is weak fire us up to share the good news. Live in us, by the power of your Spirit that we may go out and serve our communities.

Lord, lead us in your truth, and teach us to trust and obey.

We offer these prayers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who restores us to wholeness. Amen.


Blessing:


May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors. Amen


Also available at this link as a song:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxUAeTDW3c0


MP 143 Fight the good fight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YppcFC8mxKM


MP 1259 Bless the Lord, O my soul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E