Service at Home on 14th March 2021 - Fourth Sunday in Lent
for Bolton Road Methodist Church, Christ Church Ramsbottom and Edenfield Methodist Church
YouTube playlist: Service at Home 14-03-2021
As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you may want to use these sheets if you prefer to read the words.
Welcome and the Lent Cross
Watch: Welcome and the Lent Cross
Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to this Sunday’s Service at Home. This Sunday is the fourth in a preaching series for Lent, which is looking at the nature of Jesus. During this series, church leaders in the Ramsbottom area take it in turns to provide the teaching. This Sunday, Steve Gaskell from Ramsbottom Community Church looks at “Jesus – a servant leader”.
Lighting of the Lent Cross
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Four candles are lit.
Let us pray:
Thank you, Jesus, for all that you have done for us. Thank you for your gift of forgiveness and new life. Thank you for the many ways in which you help and strengthen us each day. Please give us the courage to tell and to show others what you have done for us, so that they will turn to you too.
Help us to grow closer to you and stronger in our faith. Amen.
Watch: Light of the world
Watch: Opening prayers
Loving God, on this Mothering Sunday we come to you, just as we are. For some of us this is a happy day, for some a difficult day, some have mixed emotions. We thank you that you welcome each one of us, just as we are, with our joys and our pain. We thank you that you hold each one of us safe in your love. We thank you that you will always care for us, comfort us, heal us and guide us.
Loving God, you are the source of all the love we share. We thank you for our mothers and for all those who care for us. May we show them by our words and actions that we love and care about them too. We thank you for the family of the church. Thank you for those who are mothers and fathers to our Christian family. May they know your blessing and strength as they care for others. Amen.
Forgiving God, we are sorry for the times we’ve failed to show your love in our words and behaviour. We are sorry for the hurt we’ve caused to others, to ourselves and to you. In a moment of quiet we bring those times to mind. We are truly sorry and we ask for your forgiveness.
We hear the words of Jesus, ‘Your sins are forgiven’. 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: What a beautiful name it is
Prayers of intercession by Graham from Bolton Road
Watch: Prayers of intercession
God our Father, in your unfailing love and goodness, hear us as we bring to you our prayers for the world and for all people. In this period of Lent we come to you aware of our unreadiness for the enormity of the Easter message, that Christ suffered and died for us and was yet raised in glorious victory. Grant us healing of our souls, and in the souls of all who search for meaning in their lives.
We give thanks for your beautiful world, for its richness and complexity, for the foretaste of spring we have enjoyed and, pray for a better awareness of the needs of our planet and for sensitivity to the conservation of its resources. God of mercy and love let us serve you today.
We thank you for the wonderful world that you have given us, for the air we breath and for water. We thank you for all growing things and for our food. Bless those who work hard to provide us with what we need. We pray for the hungry and homeless and ask you to be with the lonely and neglected. Give us courage to help them to be restored. God of mercy and love let us serve you today.
We thank you for the love of our homes and the care of our mothers. We pray for families where a loved one is ill, whether at home or in hospital. We ask you to be with those who are finding the lack of human contact during this current lockdown, difficult to bear. May each find the joy of the Lord even in such times. God of mercy and love let us serve you today.
We pray for countries where justice seems far away, where human rights are ignored. Let us remind those in power that prisoners are not forgotten by us or by God. We pray that dignity of life is respected and remember all who have lost that dignity through age, infirmity, neglect, or separation from friends or family. God of mercy and love let us serve you today.
We remember those who we love but no longer see. Be with all who are grieving today over the loss of a loved one. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. We remember all who have died and light a candle in our hearts to symbolise the light of Christ which shines eternally and brings hope. God of mercy and love let us serve you today.
Heavenly Father we offer these prayers to you and ask that you use them and us, to further the work of your kingdom here on earth, so that all people will know that you Lord, are indeed among us.
Accept our prayers in the name of your Son, our risen saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Watch: He will hold me fast
Sermon and prayer
Watch: Sermon and prayer
Sermon by Steve Gaskell from Ramsbottom Community Church
Read Matthew 20:20-28
The passage tells us that James and John made several mistakes:
- Bad timing. See context. Jesus just declared his own self-sacrifice.
- The method. Sending mum (was she Jesus’ auntie?).
- It led to a negative outcome, with division in the ranks! (verse 24)
- They asked the wrong person as the Father makes that decision. (verse 23)
James and John had an incorrect understanding of leadership. Jesus corrected them by explaining that they must put others first and to serve, that whoever wants to become great must become like a servant. Which is of course exactly what Jesus did – Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many, our Servant King.
Read Mark 9:33-35
This passage describes more bickering between the disciples about who was the greatest. Just think how silly it would be if people in church argues about who was the greatest. Or how ridiculous it would be if the ministers in Ramsbottom had a debate as to who is the greatest.
These two passages show us four aspects of Jesus, the Servant leader:
- Stands on the word! A man of integrity.
No compromise re truth.
He believed, preached (leader), lived (disciple) and obeyed (servant) the word.
The word must come before our political view, and before our world view.
Billy Graham came to the place of holding a high value of the word of God and acceptance of it, and thus God used him in a mighty way.
- Spirit Filled. A man of love.
Gifts and fruits: ‘balanced dove’ illustration: 9 gifts of the Spirit and 9 fruit of the Spirit.
But the greatest is love, as stated in1 Corinthians 13.
Jesus was committed to the disciples.
But is it true that “all you need is love”? No! Jesus said “if you love me you will obey me”.
- Servant Heart. A man who serves!
In attitude, as stated in Philippians 2:5-11.
In action (which we’ll look at in more detail on Tuesday evening).
- Secure in his identity. A man who knows who he is.
Jesus knew that he was the Son of man (speaks of his humanity), the Son of God (speaks of his deity) and the Son of David (speaks of the fact he is a Jewish King).
A final prayer
Dear Lord, I pray that I’ll come to love you and love others more than ever. Help me to never become cynical and to remain soft hearted even if I become thick skinned.
Lord, help me to be a servant and to serve you in a fresh way. Guide me Lord, especially as we come out of Lockdown, into new ways to serve you. Help me to be like Jesus and desire not to be served but to serve.
Lord, help me to be secure in who I am as a follower of Jesus. Help me not to compare myself to others and to always remember that I am your child, and that you love all of children equally.
Lord, fill me afresh with your Spirt once more to make me more like Jesus. Fill me with your Spirit so that I come to love you and Iove others. Come Holy Spirit………….
Lord, guide me to how you want me to serve you and serve others. I pray that I will hear your voice, through your Spirit living in me.
Lord, protect me in this coming week. I pray that I will feel you close to me at all times, and know that I am surrounded by your love.