• Rossendale Circuit

Trust - Audio Service 20.03.22

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Or watch on youtube here.


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



Suggested Hymns & Songs:


Trust and obey

https://youtu.be/KB4KcleYiWM


How great is our God

https://youtu.be/gpAU0gvYLPg




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Transcript


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 w e've suggested some links to versions of the hymns below this video. This week service isn't entitled 'Trust', and you'll hear Reverend David burrow begin the service now


Well, good morning, everyone. Good to see you all and thank you to Karen for stepping into the breach, very kind of you, it did mean I had to choose my hymns yesterday rather than this morning but that's good for me. That's good for me isn't it, a bit of discipline. Last week, we looked at Hope and this week as I said, we're gonna move on to trust.


So, trust in proverbs chapter three and verses five to six it says this 'trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.' So if we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and we don't rely on ourselves and how we think life should go and then he will make our paths straight, what a wonderful promise. Let us pray. Father, help us to place our trust in you when life is straightforward and when life is difficult, give us the courage to rely on you, recognising always, that you never leave us or forsake us. Amen.


So let us pray. Father God, we thank you that you are our God, a God who can be trusted, implicitly. That your Word is true and that your Son Jesus Christ was the very truth who came to live amongst us. Forgive us we pray when we put our trust in other things. Whether that be ourselves, our gifts, our wealth, our power or in other people, rather than in you. Forgive us and help us to simply abide in you and even in the most difficult of times, never to let go and to always hold on to you for we thank you that you are our rock we thank you that you are the one who is steadfast and true. So we praise you for your trustworthiness. We praise you that at any moment. Any moment of any day at any time. We know that you are there for us. We thank You. Jesus laid down his life for us to show us that you indeed are true to your word. And that you can be trusted in all things even to the point of death, death on a cross and so as Jesus's death pays the price of our sin, his resurrection overcomes the power of death. So we thank you and praise you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. And we pray now that you would fill us again once more to overflowing with your power, with your presence and with the gift of your peace as we rest and abide in you and offer our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. Our Lord and our Saviour. Amen.


Photo by Zdenek Machacek via Unsplash


So I wonder what and who do you trust? BBC? How about the press? Social media? The shopkeepers where you buy your food, do you trust them that is not going to be rotten or out of date. Yeah. Okay. What about the banks. Have got money in the bank, so you trust the banks and building societies the post office? Do you trust the hospitals and the nurses and the doctors. What about the refuse collectors, week in week out? Come rail, rain, snow, wind, hail. There they are collecting the bins, what a brilliant job they do. We trust them to do that what a mess we're in if they suddenly decide to go on strike. So we trust them to be there every week. And get upset when we forget to put our own bins out of course. Yes. What about the postie who delivers the letters and the parcels? You put your stamp on your letter you put it in the post box and you trust that it will get where it's going. What about the airlines get on the plane do you trust the pilot? Just a bit. So, you know it would be very difficult to live wouldn't it without trusting these institutions and these people who are responsible for all of these things. So there's a lot of trust in life you know, it's not just a simple do I trust this or trust that. It's all very quite complex really. My dad used to say I remember him saying when I was young, trust everyone until they show that can't be trusted, which I thought, ok. Some people might think that's a bit naive. But it does mean that you treat everyone equally on first meeting them, without prejudice because you trust them until they prove they can't be trusted. What happens when trust is betrayed? That's the thing isn't it.


The Bible is full of stories, of course of those who trust others implicitly and those who can't be trusted. Samson, what a mixture he was, but what about somebody like King David trusted to rule the nation of Israel and yet, couldn't be trusted to keep his hands off another man's wife. Yeah, and terrible things can happen when trust is betrayed, so David, in David's case, it led to adultery to murder and the death of a baby. So, you know, terrible things can happen when trust is betrayed. And here's the story that you'll know well, one of Jesus's stories which shows us the difference between those who trust in themselves, in this case, the Pharisee one of the religious leaders of course, and those who recognise that they cannot trust in themselves but only can trust in God, in this case, a tax collector.


And so we're in Luke's Gospel chapter 18. And he tells us this in verse 9. Jesus also told this parable to some, to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt. Two men went up to the temple to pray. One a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee standing by himself was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people. Thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week I give a 10th of all my income. But the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other, for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but those who humble themselves will be exalted.'


Pharisees and the tax collectors were two well known groups represented by these two well remembered figures and Pharisees tend to get a bad press in the gospels don't they. We think so. These are holier than thou. But overall they belong to a group characterised not by self righteousness, but by their struggle to live in as holy a way as possible. They just wanted to get it right before God and they did their very best. And maybe everything the Pharisee claimed for himself in the story of Jesus was true. But where was he putting his trust? It was in his own achievements wasn't it, look at me. I do all these things. He put his trust in his own self righteousness. Look at what I'm like, look at what I've achieved. I'm in a different league to this tax collector. And Jesus says he told this story against those who hold holders or hold others in contempt. And so the Pharisee held the tax collector in contempt. In fact, the tax collector as we know, was despised by everyone in the community in the Jewish community. The tax collector was a collaborator with the enemy. Polluted by their contact with Roman authority, he couldn't trust anybody but himself. If the Romans found someone else who would be more effective and more efficient at collecting taxes, they'd drop him like a bag of bricks wouldn't they and take on somebody else. There was no way the tax collector could trust anybody in his own community because he cheated them, he cheated them out more than just their taxes as well. He took extra for himself. He couldn't trust anyone because no one trusted him, either, what a place to be, absolutely horrendous. But here they both are in Jesus's story in his parable, both before God in prayer. And there are two questions. How do they see themselves? And how do we see ourselves?


So how do they see themselves? Was the Pharisee there to pray? Or was he there to tell God and anyone else in earshot, how wonderfully he was, look at me I'm really good. He was certainly proud of himself wasn't he and happily compared himself with others, especially those that he despised. Would he humble himself before God, as it says in two Chronicles seven you know, God calls people to humble themselves to seek his face. Would he seek God's face? Would he turn from his sin? Well, no, sadly, because it never occurred to him, or entered his head, that what he was doing was wrong. Been a long time since he'd looked at himself and seen himself as he truly was. He should have remembered proverbs 16, verse 18, which says Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall, which is of course where we get our saying from, pride goes before a fall. And how true is that? I've experienced that one a few times in my life. So there he was.


Well, what about the tax collector? Well, he humbly stood at a distance, probably feeling greatly out of place. He wouldn't even look up to heaven. He didn't even raise his hands. Instead, he beat his breast, which apparently was very unusual for a man to do in that community in that culture. But he got straight to the point. God, have mercy on me, a sinner. This man really was there to pray. He was there to tell God of his shame. And he couldn't compare himself with others because he was too busy comparing himself with God, and he knew he fell far short. He humbled himself. He sought God's face. He looked at himself and seeing himself as he truly was before God, and he did something about it. He went to the one who could change things God could now reach down and lift him up. If you want to do a Bible study, look at how many times God or Jesus reaches down and lift people up in the Bible. Just lovely stories. A little girl who died that Jesus went to see he takes her by the hand and lifts are up and gives her back to her mum and dad. That's just an aside but you know, just a wonderful story about how Jesus lifts us up.


And now back to the tax collector, because he'd been honest about himself before God, God could lift him up, in Jesus's words, God could justify, justify him and exalt him. They could justify him, it was just as if he'd never sinned, he had a complete new start in life. And he could go home rejoicing. And of course, as Jesus tells us, the Bible tells us that every time a sinner repents, the angels have a party. It's nice to think that isn't it? Parties in heaven. Now this is one of Jesus's stories one of Jesus's parables, but I wonder if he based it on real life? I wonder, because in the very next chapter of Luke's gospel, in chapter 19, we have this wonderful story of Zacchaeus, rhe tax collector, he wanted to see Jesus and when Jesus saw him up that sycamore tree and invited himself to Zacchaeus' house Zacchaeus was never the same again. You know, he put his trust in Jesus and turned his life completely around. He gave half of his possessions to the poor, straight off. And to those he cheated he repaid four times the amount he taken Zacchaeus knew exactly where to put his trust for his life. So I said earlier there were two questions about Jesus's Pharisee and the tax collector story, how do they see themselves? And how do we see ourselves? And how we see these two characters, reflects on how we see ourselves. We need to be truthful about ourselves. Take a long, honest look in the mirror. I'm not just talking about looking at the outside because I look in the mirror and think crikey. Is that my Dad or my Mum? Jackie says I look like my mum, I can't see it.


So, we need to take a long honest look at ourselves in the mirror as it were, the spiritual mirror, the interior mirror and look at ourselves, how we are within ourselves and we need to be truthful about ourselves and then we need to be truthful about where we put our trust. But please note this is not about falling into that terrible trap of self deprecation. Where we just put ourselves down. That's not what this is about. Because that's a bad place to be. That's an unhealthy place to be. Where we undervalue ourselves, we undervalue the gifts that God has given us. That's completely not what this is about. This is about being honest about the things in our lives that separate us from God and bringing them to God and saying to God, God have mercy on me. A sinner. And he will lift us up. They will lift us up. How wonderful that is when that happens when you're washed clean, as it were, and you have a brand new start. You know, being honest about ourselves is simply recognising our need of Jesus, isn't it? Putting our trust in our relationships, our material possessions, and the things we do in our wealth, our power and even in our church going, is of no use if we're not willing to put all that aside for the sake of Jesus Christ, who loves us.


Last night at the lent group, we did a we did a Bible study didn't we, it was really something spectacular. Things we talked about lead to all kinds of things. But one of these things was about putting God first in all things, taking up our cross, following Jesus and be willing to put everything else to the side. But recognising too that as we put God first in our lives, that God blesses us. So if we leave family behind, to go and be a missionary, you will receive far more in mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters because your families now incorporates all the people that you meet on your journeys. How wonderful that God blesses when we commit our lives to him. Maybe there's something here for us as Christians in the Ukrainian refugee situation, and think about in those terms, what can we offer? How can we increase the size of our relationships, our families, be blessed through the coming of these people and if we see it that way, what a difference it makes, it's not a case of oh, these people are coming over here. You know, it's a case of welcome. Come and bless us, as we try to do our best to bless you, just as the Iranian refugees blessed us here and Longholme when they came. You know, Jesus was very clear about our need to listen to all that he said, and like Zacchaeus to put it into action. Now Jesus' famous sermon on the Mount in Matthew starts in Matthew chapter five. You know you go back to Matthew chapter five, and it starts with all these wonderful blessings doesn't it, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for there will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy and blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God, blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you, and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'


And that's just the beginning of three chapters, chapters five, six and seven of Jesus's teaching, and all the wonderful things that he has to teach us, be salt and light, he says, you know, love your enemies. Wow. What about your giving, and your prayer lives your fasting? What about treasures, where are your treasures, all of these things? But at the very end of this teaching, for the very end of the sermon on the mount, he says this, 'everyone then who hears these words of mine, and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house. And it fell and great was its fall.'


It's a wonderful story, some great children's songs for that story aren't there, you know, we could all sing them off the top of our heads, I'm sure. But it comes at the end of that block of teaching by Jesus and he's saying put your trust in me and in my words, in what I was telling you, and act on them, be healers and be doers like Zacchaeus. Act on it and so through throughout the New Testament, we are reminded again and again of the trustworthiness of the Bible of God's word and Titus is one example. God's word is trustworthy, he says, and we can build our lives on that on God's word. And our Jesus who is the rock and who is also, as it says in Ephesians he is the cornerstone, the cornerstone on which we build everything, the church and our lives. So our trust, trust is in God who is completely trustworthy, even in our darkest and most difficult times. Emmanuelle. God is with us. So let's be truthful about ourselves before God, trust in God's love and compassion and as we do so we will enjoy the riches of God's world, and we will know his peace. Amen.


So let us pray. Father, God, thank you so much for your word. Thank you that we can put our trust firmly in it, for we know that it is true. And we thank you that it speaks to us of Jesus, the one who is the truth and we can trust him to fulfil his promises just as you fulfilled your promises in the Old Testament, so we look forward to all that is to come in Jesus. But we also enjoy the privilege of being children of God today. Of being brothers and sisters of Christ of inheriting all that Christ has inherited and knowing that we have the promise of life eternal. And so father as we trust in you and in your son Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. So we pray, we pray for our world. And once again, we pray for peace. We pray for the people of Ukraine. We pray for their leaders and we pray for your guidance for all of them. But more than that, we pray against the powers of evil that stalk the land, those spiritual powers and we pray that your Holy Spirit would move in power and bring an end to the suffering, to the war to the pain. And Father, we pray for the people of Russia and we thank you for those who are protesting against the war, for their courage. Give them strength we pray. We pray too for the leaders of Russia, for Putin especially. And pray that you would change his heart, change his heart from one of what seems to be stone to one or flesh, let him look at himself and see himself as he truly is. And may he come before you and see himself as you see him. And Lord, may we do the same. Recognising that we are your children with all that wonderful potential. Potential that is fulfilled as we turn away from self and turn to you.


Father, we pray too for the peoples of Yemen, Afghanistan. So many other places where there is so much suffering, pour out your Spirit we pray Lord pour out your spirit of peace, of comfort, of compassion, your spirit of love. Father, we pray for your church, that your church might be a body of people ready always to serve. Built on the cornerstone which is Jesus Christ himself, that your church will be a people of welcome and warmth and hospitality. A people of compassion, a people filled with love for their neighbour and for their enemy. A people always ready to place that trust in you and to follow you wherever you may need. And Father in the stillness we pray to for those who we know and love. Pray for those who grieve. And we think of James and Matthew and Andrew and June as they grieve the loss of Margaret. Fill their lives we pray with your presence and with your peace, we pray for Ken and for Anne self isolating. And Father for those who we know and love who need the touch of your healing power in their lives today, we put our trust in you to be with them and to hold them safe in your hands to lift them up, that they might know you as Lord and Saviour. So Father bless us now we pray as we join together and share in bread and wine to your glory and to our comfort and to our good. Amen.


Here's a name that you might not know. Horatio Gates Spafford. From the 19th century, a wealthy Chicago businessman and a lawyer no less, he was married with five children and sadly in 1870, his son, Horatio Spafford Junior, Got scarlet fever and died, the following year, there was a massive fire, which devastated Chicago and it killed almost 300 people and destroyed the homes around 100,000 people. And Spafford himself suffered great losses because all of his estate holdings burned to the ground. But despite their financial loss Spafford and his family offered a lot of generous assistance to others. Two years after the fire, Spafford decided to come with his family to England to visit his friend DL Moody, a name you will all know I'm sure, he was preaching over here. But Spofford himself was delayed by a business matter so he sent his wife Anna, and their four daughters, who ranged from two years old to 11 years old. He sent them on ahead of him. They sailed on a steamship called the Ville du Havre, tragically, that ship collided with an iron sailing ship and it sunk in the Atlantic and only his wife survived so he lost all his daughters. When she got to Cardiff in South Wales she telegraphed her husband with two words, saved alone. So Spafford immediately booked passage on a ship to join his wife. And as the ship across the Atlantic Ocean in the place where the Ville du Havre had sunk and his daughters had died, Spafford wrote the words 'when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roam, whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.' Here was a man who truly put his trust in God.


And now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Be glory, majesty, power and authority. Before all time and now and forever. 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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