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Service at Home – 9th August

Service at Home on 9th August 2020

for Christ Church Ramsbottom, Edenfield Methodist Church and Bolton Road Methodist Church

YouTube playlist: Service at Home 09-08-2020

As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you can still use these sheets if you prefer, especially if you want to read the prayers.

Welcome and Introduction

Watch: Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to this Sunday’s Service at Home. This week we’re going to look at when Jesus walked on the lake and called Peter out of the boat to him; and see what that tells us today about not being afraid and trusting in Jesus.

Our call to worship is from Habakkuk 3 verse 3: ‘Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.  Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known.’

Watch: Come people of the Risen King

Watch: As the deer pants for the water

Opening prayers

Watch: Opening prayers

Dear Lord, my soul does indeed long for you and you are indeed my heart’s desire. Lord, I worship you, and you alone. I worship you above anything else because only you give me true peace and joy. Nothing else compares to what you offer me.

Most of all, I worship you, Lord, because you sent your son, Jesus Christ, to this world to die for me, so through his death I would have an eternal life in your Kingdom.

When I think about how much you love me, I’m ashamed that I sometimes fail to love you as much as I should. When I think about how much you love all your children, I’m ashamed that I sometimes fail to reflect your love in the way I treat other people. Lord, in a moment of quiet I bring to mind the things that I’ve done wrong, or failed to do, and confess these things to you now in the silence………

Lord, forgive me.

I thank you that through faith in Jesus, I can be absolutely certain that you have forgiven me and that nothing can separate me from your love.

Lord, help me to become aware of your presence with me now. Help me to sense you love and peace filling me through your Spirit living within. Amen.

And now say the prayer that Jesus taught us:

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 us our trespasses, as we forgive those that 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.

 

Watch: In Christ Alone

 

Prayers of intercession by Susan Applegate

Watch: Prayers of intercession

Lord, our hearts cry out to you as we bring before you our prayers of intersession. We long for a time when there is no more crying or pain or death, and all come to know you as their Lord and Saviour.

Just as we think that our country is starting to  get back on its feet, as we come out of shielding,  be allowed to safely  meet with family and friends,  shops, cafes and leisure activities reopen, we have seen our town and area placed into local lockdown, bringing in new restrictions. The guidance has been quite confusing for adults and it must seem even more confusing for the children, not to be able to visit or see family and friends once again.

Lord bring clarity and understanding, into our situations. Make children resilient and strong at this time.

We pray for our town, that the precautions made, will help to bring down the spread of this virus and reduce the risk to all concerned. Help us not to get blasé about the restrictions but be mindful of how it affects not just us as individuals but how it can have an effect on others in our community.  Send your Holy Spirit upon our town, protect and keep us safe, and may more people turn to you, and learn of your love.

Loving God, renew our strength and patience in these trying times, helping us to be your instruments in helping others to know you.

We pray for our Government as they try and lead us through this crisis, as they try to balance risk, with opening up the economy, and look for ways to provide help and support to our society. May they be mindful of those most vulnerable, providing clearly understandable instructions.

We pray for those working on a cure, developing vaccines and ways to test people quickly, to bring an end to this deadly decease.

All Knowing and seeing God, bring wisdom and compassion to our Government, and knowledge and skill to our scientists.

Lord we pray for the children, young people and families of our churches and communities. May we find new ways to communicate your love and provide help and support were needed. Give us inspiration of how to connect with these groups and give us courage to try new things.

We pray for:

-  all those we know who are ill or whose health or mobility is declining,

- for those whose mental resolve is being tested the longer measures are in place,

-   the lonely, and isolated, the homeless or unemployed

-   the bereaved, and those frightened or anxious

-   the NHS staff and all those on the frontline who make sacrifices every day to keep us safe and make us well.

Life giving and healing God, bring your healing power, peace and comfort and renew all our lives.

And finally, be with each one of us in our own needs and concerns, give us strength and courage to continue to walk with you and bring us through this testing time, with new and increased faith and Hope. Reinvigorate us through your love and give us strength  and courage, to be able to share  that love  and hope with others.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Watch: You Restore my Soul (live)

Readings and Sermon

Watch: Readings and Sermon

Readings

Psalm 104:1-4

Matthew 14:22-33

Sermon

Our reading from Matthew comes straight after Jesus has fed over 5,000 people with a few loaves and a couple of fish.  The crowd were understandably excited and amazed, no doubt the disciples were too.  Jesus then sends the disciples away ahead of him and dismisses the crowd himself before going up the mountain to pray, to spend that essential time alone with his Father God.

Imagine the disciples getting on that boat at the end of such an amazing day.  They must have gone over their wonderful experience together, marvelling at how Jesus had blessed the food and it had somehow multiplied, swapping stories of people’s reactions when they distributed the miraculous meal to them.  They must have been elated, maybe tired too with all the emotion and wonder of the day.  As they row across the lake, the wind starts to get up and their progress slows.  We heard in our reading that, later that night, ‘the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.’  Not the perfect end to a perfect day – they’re getting anxious now, struggling to row into the wind, the boat getting thrown about in the waves.  Only four of them were fishermen, the others must have been even more afraid to be out on such a stormy sea.  They think that Jesus is far away, back on the land, but in fact he is even at that moment coming swiftly to rescue them.  They are about to witness two more miracles.

Jesus comes towards the boat walking on the water.  Jesus walking on the water is a clear sign that He is God.  Only God walks on the face of the waters (Job 9:8 “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.). And later the disciples will see another miracle, as soon as Jesus and Peter enter the boat, the wind dies down, the sea is calm.  Only God has control over wind and waves. Stilling storms is a sign of God's authority in the Bible (Eg: When Jonah has disobeyed God, catching a boat to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh, the storm stops when the sailors throw Jonah into the water. Jonah 1: 15 ‘Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm’).

This isn’t the first time the disciples have seen Jesus demonstrate that He has God’s power, the disciples will also still have fresh in their minds an earlier occasion when they were out in a boat with Jesus and the weather grew stormy.  We can read about it a few chapters earlier in Matthew, chapter 8:

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’

26 He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Jesus walks on the water and stills the storm.  The significance of these two miracles would be clear to the disciples.  We heard in our reading today that, when he gets in the boat with them, they worship him saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.

Jesus shows them that He is God, he demonstrates God’s authority and power by his command over the elements and he comes swiftly to their rescue.

Jesus brings encouragement and peace to the disciples.  When they see a figure advancing towards them over the water, the disciples are at first terrified, thinking that they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus calls out to them to reassure them, ‘‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’

‘It is I’ – the words that Jesus uses here are the same words that God uses when He speaks to Moses from the burning bush.  Jesus’ words, as well as his actions, show that He is one with God.

‘‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ As we’ve noticed before, ‘Don’t be afraid’ is the most frequently repeated command in the whole Bible.  We might think that the disciples had good reason to feel afraid in the small boat on the stormy sea, but in fact they didn’t need to be afraid – Jesus was with them.  There are many things in life that make us feel afraid, but in fact Jesus reassures us that we don’t need to be afraid, He is with us and He is all we need.

Jesus shows by his actions and words that He has God’s power and authority, that he shares God’s nature and name.  He comes quickly to rescue the disciples and he reassures and encourages them.

Peter is encouraged, he calls to Jesus, ‘Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.’  Jesus simply replies, ‘Come’.  I reckon Jesus was smiling as he said this.  He would be glad that Peter was willing to take this huge step of faith.

Peter is willing to put his faith in Jesus into practice.  Do you have the practical faith of Peter?  Words are never enough, we’re all called to put our faith in Jesus into action.

A few years ago, I took the Day Skippers course at night school.  We learnt about navigation, using charts to plot our route, how to calculate tides, how to keep the crew and the boat safe.  One thing was impressed upon us, even if your boat is in trouble it is usually safer to stay on board and call for help.  Sailors are taught that to abandon ship is an absolute last resort.  Peter is a fisherman with a healthy respect for the dangers of deep water.  There’s a storm raging, the waves are high all around him. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to leave the relative safety of the boat and step out onto a raging sea?

Why does he get out of the boat?  Because Jesus calls him.  He trusts Jesus and knows that although it should be impossible for him to walk on water, if Jesus assures him it is possible then it is.

For a few wonderful moments Peter shares Jesus’ authority over the elements, he walks on the water.  Then he’s distracted by the storm and starts to sink.  What goes wrong?  Peter looks at the situation he’s in (surrounded by a stormy sea), rather than trusting in God’s power that is keeping him safe, enabling him to do the impossible, to walk on the surface of the sea.  We can learn from this, can’t we?  We need to focus on Jesus and his power to enable us to do what he calls us to do and to save us, rather than focussing on our own situation, the difficulties and temptations around us and within us.  In our first reading, the psalmist wrote ‘Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always’.

Peter has taken a huge step of faith, then he’s had a crisis of confidence and gone under.  As soon as Peter cries out to Jesus, Jesus is there pulling him up out of the sea.  As he does so, Jesus says to Peter, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’  I reckon Jesus is still smiling as he says those words – Peter may be a man of little faith, but at least his faith is big enough to get him out of the boat.  The rest of the disciples are still huddled in the boat.  Peter’s faith will grow as he uses it.  By putting his faith into practice, in this case getting out of the boat when Jesus calls him, Peter’s faith will increase and strengthen.  It’s the same for every disciple, and that includes you and me.  We have to put our faith and trust in Jesus into action and do the things Jesus calls us to do.  In that way our faith will grow and get stronger and we’ll find we can do more and more with Jesus’ guidance and help.  When we fail, and we’re bound to fail sometimes, we can learn from that too and we know from Peter’s experience that Jesus will be quick to rescue us.

Jesus doesn’t let Peter go under and he won’t let us go under either.  We, like Peter, have Jesus to rescue us, set us back on the right track and strengthen us.

Sometimes people remember Peter’s failure and forget what happened next.  Together Peter and Jesus walk on water back to the boat.

Anything is possible if Jesus is calling us to do it.  He is quick to rescue us when our faith gives out and we start to sink.  He will make sure that we accomplish what he has called us to do.

So will you stay huddled in the shelter of the boat?  Or are you ready to take a step of faith as Peter did?

What is God calling you to do?  What has God shown you during lockdown about your life and faith, about what you should prioritise, about what is of real value?  Is God calling you to step out into a new ministry, a new way of serving him, a deeper faith?

Jesus calls us to join him in his work of saving those who are lost out on the stormy seas of life.

Frank Doyle writes, ‘Too often we Christians spend much, if not all, of our time in the shelter of the boat, taking care of ourselves and neglecting those in the stormy sea who need to hear the words of life’.

We’re in a pretty big storm at the moment.  Think about those who are trying to weather this storm without Jesus as their protector and guide – how is God calling you to help them?

We aren’t meant to stay in the boat, Jesus calls us to take a step of faith and follow him out into the storm, out into what is unknown to us, but not to Him.  When we do so, we are in fact in the safest place of all – hand in hand with Jesus, filled with his peace, guided and protected by Him.

Anything is possible if Jesus is calling us to do it.  He is quick to rescue us when our faith gives out and we start to sink.  He will make sure that we accomplish what he has called us to do.

Prayer

Jesus very often says to his followers “do not be afraid”.  There are a hundred reasons every day to be afraid.  But Jesus assures us that he is always present – no matter how terrifying the circumstances or desperate the situation.  Listen to those words of reassurance to you and really hear them.

Jesus is calling each one of us to take a step of faith.  To step out from where we may feel comfortable and safe and to go where we are in fact truly safe – walking in his footsteps.  Are you ready to follow Him?  Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what he is calling you to do.

Thank you, Jesus, that you are swift to come to our rescue.  Thank you for promising to be with us always and for giving us your reassurance and peace.  Give us the faith to step out and follow you. Amen.

 Watch: Oceans

Watch: You make me brave (crashes over me)