• Rossendale Circuit

Why Am I Here? Sunday Service 18.04.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Watch directly on Youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 825 ‘Faithful One, so unchanging’

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


MP 77 ‘Christ triumphant, ever reigning’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Xz9V-6JPA



Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


MP 987 ‘Here is love vast as the ocean’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YOPj5TnUM


MP 806 ‘Beauty for brokenness’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqDOXfj9W0w - with images



Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


MP 1012 ‘These are the days of Elijah’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca9LnzJnpjQ


MP 496 ‘O for a thousand tongues to sing’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O9kw3cILpg



Other Links

Our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzuzxmGWU4e_xRupJilppg

Our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rossendalemethodistcircuit

Our Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/rossendalecircuit/


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

Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com


Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos.



Welcome & introduction. ‘Why am I here?’


Let us praise God the Lord as long as we live; Let us sing praises to God all life long.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!


Happy are those whose hope is in God who made heaven and earth, and keeps faith for ever.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!


The Lord executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry,

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!


The Lord sets the prisoners free and lifts up those who are bowed down.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!


The Lord will reign for ever, our God for all eternity.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!


Risen Saviour, Jesus our Lord, we love you and are so grateful that you love us so much that you were prepared to give up everything and live on earth, showing us how to live, and then to die, all so that we might know what it means to become children of God. Pour your Holy Spirit into our lives that we may grow more like you.

For your life which informs our living, for your compassion which changes our hearts, for your clear speaking which contradicts our vague generalities, for your disturbing presence, your innocent suffering, your fearless dying and then rising to life breathing forgiveness, we praise and worship you. As we worship, help us to know your presence with us, open our minds and hearts we pray.

Generous God, whose love is free to all, we often struggle to be the people that you want us to be, loving one another as brothers and sisters in your world-wide family. Shape our lives into an expression of faith. Protect us from cultural forces which try to conform us to an image other than yours. Show us the harm we do when we water down the good news of your love, when we become a mirror reflecting the world’s brokenness and hate, rather than a window through which your wholeness and love can shine. Lord, we fail you in so many ways, we are so sorry . . . . [Offer your own prayer of confession].

‘I am making all things new’, says the Lord. This is Christ’s gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Amen

Thanks be to God.


Photo by Jakub Kriz via Unsplash


Psalm 4 This is the perfect song for those who can’t sleep at night. It begins with a lament; the writer cries out to God asking Him to answer his call, but he also remembers how God has answered him in the past and given him room to breathe when he was in distress. Ultimately this psalm is about trusting God who knows our needs and hears our prayers. The last verse says, “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety”.

Let God have all your troubles, pour them out to Him and enjoy the peace, the shalom of God. And the shalom of God is the abundance of life we find when we are in a relationship with God; the joy of having enough to share with others. “You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound”. The ‘secret’ to sleeping in peace is to tell God your complaint, and to worship with others despite your troubles. The Psalm doesn’t tell us that our troubles will go away, it simply reminds us to trust in God, who makes us lie down in safety so we might sleep in peace.


MP 825 ‘Faithful One, so unchanging’

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


MP 77 ‘Christ triumphant, ever reigning’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Xz9V-6JPA


Now, I’m sure you know that I enjoy a good run in the hills of Rossendale, anything up to half marathon distance, so I wonder, how fast could I run if I was desperate to share the most amazing experience I had ever had? Seven miles might seem like a long way but when you are full of adrenalin and excitement perhaps it’s not so far after all. Cleopas and his friend were probably trudging the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus when they were joined by a mystery figure who didn’t seem to have any idea about what had been going on in Jerusalem during the last few days. But as they told their story of Jesus’ death and resurrection he, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, interpreted to them the things about himself, because it was Jesus, in all the scriptures. No wonder their hearts burned within them as they listened. But still they were kept from recognising him. Only when they invited him into the house in Emmaus and Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, as he had done when he fed the 5000, only then were their eyes opened. Immediately they ran back to Jerusalem to share their wonderful news– probably easily beating my best time for 7 miles.

In Jerusalem they found the 11 disciples and their companions saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Great news all round. I am sure we can imagine the excited conversation about how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

And this is where we join the story.


Reading: Luke 24:36-49 Why am I here?


Many years ago, I, along with other ministers, spent some time on a retreat in Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales. Kettlewell is a place I know well and I felt very much at home there. I knew why I was there – or at least I thought I did.

It is a beautiful place to be still, to reflect on your faith and, as it turned out, it’s also a good place to be challenged – which wasn’t something I expected.

One of the leaders asked us a question from the United Reformed Church ordination service which goes like this;

“Are zeal for the glory of God, love for the Lord Jesus Christ, obedience to the Holy Spirit and a desire for the salvation of the world, so far as you know your own heart, the chief motives which led you to enter this ministry?

And that got me thinking, as it was intended to, about why I am here doing what I do.

Why am I here?

I remembered back to Sabden, in 1988, when I was part of a group of Christians who had been asked by the churches there to help them tell the village people about Jesus. I met a young mum at the local primary school gates – we were handing out leaflets to advertise the holiday club we were running during the Easter holidays.

She listened politely to all I had to say about Jesus and there and then deciding it wasn’t for her.

With a young family, she was too busy.

I saw her again, a couple of days later, at a coffee morning and she asked me why I looked so sad.

I hadn’t realised I did, but the answer was simple; it was because she was too busy for Jesus and she was missing out on everything God wanted for her.

Even though I knew why I was there - to tell her and the others about Jesus, I was deeply saddened, because she was too busy to accept the offer of God’s love for her.

I’ve prayed for her many times since that day and often wondered if she’s still too busy for Jesus.

After all he wasn’t too busy for her. He suffered and died for her, just as he did for me, and for you.


Sometimes things don’t work out as we hope, but as the psalmist reminded us, we cry out to God, we lament, we tell God what has happened, we trust and find the peace and reassurance of knowing why we are here.

And if we should forget then our Bible reading from Luke clearly reminds us why we are here.

We have a message to share and helpfully, Luke explains by linking the main ideas in pairs.


Firstly, there is Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.

God, in response to the pain of the world, took on human flesh and died on the cross to pay the price of our sin and was raised on the third day.

Secondly, we have Repentance and Forgiveness in Jesus’ name.

When we accept our need to repent of our sin, we are forgiven and our relationship with God is restored, we receive the gift of peace with God and Jesus becomes lord of our lives.


Initially, Jesus’ followers were to share this message in Jerusalem and then take it to all nations. And how was it to be shared? In the power of the Holy Spirit!

When the power of the Holy Spirit filled the lives of Jesus’ friends God had done everything needed for every person on earth then and now to get to know him personally and to go on sharing the message.

Jesus’ death had paid the penalty of my sin and your sin.

Jesus’ death had destroyed the power of sin to hold us captive.

Jesus’ resurrection had drawn the sting of death.

And the presence and power of the Holy Spirit means each and every one of us has within us, just like those first disciples, the ability to live quality lives for God with the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection always ready on our lips.

We know why we are here!


Back in Kettlewell, one of the speakers told us of visiting a church service where he saw the love and the power of God visibly at work.

In the service there was a row of young men in their twenties, and they were worshipping God very enthusiastically.

During the service one of them was invited to the front of the church and given one minute to share something. He shared how all these young men had been in prison and all of them had been touched by the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to see. They knew why they were here.

These young men, who had been thrown on society’s scrap heap, had been given a restored status with God and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to live this new and different life God had called them to.

They knew why they were here.


God is in the reclamation business.

God longs to reclaim every man, woman and child for himself, to bring them home.

Do you claim to be a Christian? Are you excited about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Then God wants you to know why you are here.

To tell others, to show others, that being a Christian, knowing Jesus, makes a wonderful difference in your life.


One other thought. Those first disciples of Jesus knew that they were part of something far bigger than any one of them individually. They were members of the Church, just as I am and I hope you are too.

As we move out of lockdown and open up our church buildings, we need to ask the question, ‘Why are we, the Church, here?’

Was everything we were doing before lockdown done because of our zeal, our passion, to see the glory of God revealed in our towns and villages?

Was it because of our love for the Lord Jesus Christ?

Did we hold our drop-ins, run our Christmas Fairs, organise social events out of obedience to the Holy Spirit?

Were we motivated to worship, to study the Bible, and hold prayer meetings by our desire to see the salvation of the world?

If the answer to any of these is ‘No’, then we have a problem.

But if the answer to all these questions is ‘Yes’ then we know why we are here.


We are here to witness, through our words and our actions to all that Jesus has done for the whole of humanity through his death and resurrection and, of course, to make more disciples.


Allow me to return to where I started:

Why am I here? If you are able, say with me, “I am here because my zeal for the glory of God, my love for the Lord Jesus Christ, my obedience to the Holy Spirit and my desire for the salvation of the world, as far as I know my own heart, are the chief motives which compel me to continue to love and serve my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


MP 987 ‘Here is love vast as the ocean’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YOPj5TnUM


MP 806 ‘Beauty for brokenness’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqDOXfj9W0w - with images


Prayers of Intercession

Living God, as we pray for the world that you created, we remember those effected by war, especially the people of Yemen and Afghanistan and those fearful of war in the Ukraine and the Crimea. Please silence the guns and fill the nations with your peace.

We pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who must remain silent about their faith. Empower them and encourage them by your Holy Spirit and grant them relief from their distress.

We pray for those whose lives have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and by Brexit. For small and large business, for those who have lost their jobs and their homes. Fill their lives with your love.

As your resurrection community, we lift our nation in prayer.

We pray for our health care system and all who serve within it. May they receive strength, comfort and support from near and far. And for those who face mental health struggles we ask that support might be readily available and that they might be aware of your loving presence.

In our local community, we remember the work of the church. We remember the lives it impacts and all those associated with it.

In the stillness, please offer your own prayers for those whom you love and for yourself and your own situation.

In Jesus’ name w

e pray, Amen.


Blessing

As we rise from this place, we rise as witnesses to your love, O God. As we go from this moment of worship, we go as vessels for your Spirit. May your love flow through us, and out into the world.

Go in peace, and love one another. Amen


MP 1012 ‘These are the days of Elijah’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca9LnzJnpjQ


MP 496 ‘O for a thousand tongues to sing’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O9kw3cILpg


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