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Service at Home – 2nd May

Service at Home on 2nd May 2021

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

YouTube playlist: Service at Home 02-05-2021

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 introduction

Watch: Welcome and introduction

Welcome to this Sunday’s Service at Home. This week, we have a sermon from Trey Hall, the Methodist Church’s Director of Evangelism and Growth. Trey looks at when Jesus sent out 72 disciples to announce the Kingdom of God and compares this to comic improvisation, challenging us all to go and meet people where they are and tell them about Jesus in ways that they can relate to.

Watch: Unbroken Praise

Watch: I Surrender

Opening prayers

Watch: Opening prayers

Lord, we may be separated physically, but we’re united spiritually by our desire to worship you and surrender ourselves to you. I worship you because you love us so much, a love so enormous that you sent your son to this world to die for me as a sacrifice so that I can be at one with you.

Lord, when I think of your love for me and all that you’ve done for me, I’m ashamed that I often fail to love you and fail to love others as I should. In a moment of quiet, I bring to mind the times that I’ve failed to love as much as I should and have failed to obey your call, and I confess these times to you in the silence…..

Lord, forgive me. I thank you that through Jesus I can be certain that I have been forgiven and that sin cannot separate me from you.

Lord, I want to know you more. Draw me near to you. Help me to feel you close to me through your Spirit living in me. Speak to me and teach me. Inspire me and instruct me.

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: When I survey

Prayers of intercession by Kathy

Watch: Prayers of intercession

In the power of the resurrection we offer our prayers to God.

Remember, O Lord, in your love the Church throughout the world;

those able to meet together in buildings, those who worship at home and those who have to worship in secret because of persecution.

We ask you to pour out your Spirit on your whole church, renew us, reshape us and guide us to work for the growth of your Kingdom.

May your whole Church know your power and be a sign that Christ is risen.

Lord of life, hear us in your love.

Remember in your love the world you have made.

We pray for those who seek a fair and proper use of the world’s resources and those who strive for justice and peace among the nations.

We pray for a fair sharing of vaccines and medical supplies.

May the whole earth be transformed by Your mercy and rejoice in the hope that you bring.

Lord of life, hear us in your love.

Remember in your love those who suffer.

We pray for the people of India who are suffering such a terrible second wave of the Covid virus.  We thank you that other countries have started to send desperately needed medical supplies.  We pray for a generous, global effort to provide everything that is needed.  We pray that those in charge of manufacturing and distributing supplies will be guided by your wisdom.  We ask your strength and help for the medical staff and we pray for your healing for all those who are suffering.

We lift before you the people of St Vincent whose homes and crops have been blanketed in ash after the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano.  We pray for safe shelter for those who have been displaced from their homes.  As hurricane season approaches and the volcano continues to erupt we ask you to protect them.  We pray for a good response, including from our own nation, to the UN appeal for St. Vincent.

We pray for those who mourn.  We pray for Clare’s family and friends.

In a few moments of quiet we pray for those known to us who are in need.

May all in need find comfort, strength and freedom in the living Christ.

Lord of life, hear us in your love.

Gracious God, we ask these prayers through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Saviour.  Amen.

Watch: He will hold me fast

Gospel reading and Sermon

Watch: Gospel reading and Sermon

Bible reading: Luke 10:1-20 (“Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two”)

Sermon by Trey Hall (a summary written by Richard as he watched the video)

A few years ago, Trey’s spiritual director recommended that he attend a course on comic improvisation. Comic ‘improv’ is a form of comedy that, unlike traditional stand-up comedy that you normally see on television, is unscripted and responds to ideas and suggestions from the audience. Trey, like most of us, likes to be in control, with a plan and knowing where things are going, so improvisation is challenging!

Compare this with the 72 disciples that Jesus appointed to go out ahead of him. They’d been happily following Jesus and watching what he did, but now they had to go out in pairs with no scripts, no plans, no props and not even any spare clothes. They had to improvise by responding to how the people in the villages they visited reacted. This reminds us that in evangelism, we need to listen to people and respond to what people say.

We must remember that what Jesus told those 72 disciples all those years ago, he still calls us to do today. Jesus calls each one of us to go out there, to engage with the people of the world. Most people, if we’re honest with ourselves, are nervous about talking in public about the Kingdom of God, as we feel unprepared. But we’re not unprepared, as we all have our own experiences that help us to relate to people. This is why our own personal testimonies are so powerful. We also have a fear of failure, and Trey described that when he went on the Comic Improv course, he was really bad at it and felt a failure. The advice that he got from the tutor was that he was trying to be in control and not listening and responding to people; and that he should simply get up on stage, let go and have some fun! This reminds us of those 72 disciples, as we’re told that they returned full of joy. This should be what happens to us when we go out into our town telling people about the Kingdom of God – our hearts will become filled with joy.

The mission of our churches should be to go out into our communities to meet people where they are and tell them about the Kingdom of God and the truth about Jesus. This mission should become the heart of who are.

As an illustration, Trey tells a story about a church that he helped to start in Chicago about 12 years ago. They’d spent a year getting to know people and build relationships and were just about to launch their first worship service. To prepare for this, they’d gone out giving out leaflets and putting up posters. They’d been going into shops with posters and had just one poster left. The next shop that they got to was an ‘adult book shop’. They were tempted to cross the road but one of the people in the group said “Jesus sent us so we’re going in”. The shop assistant was surprised to see them in that sort of shop. She was even more surprised when Trey asked her to put up a poster for a new church to which everyone was welcome.  The shop assistant asked, “what kind of church is this?”. Trey tried to explain in terms of denomination but she asked “is it a Jesus church?”, to which he replied “yes of course it’s a Jesus church, that’s why we’re here”! The shop assistant was overjoyed that they wanted to invite her.

Trey finishes by hoping that our mission of discipleship will be a joy, a freedom and a coming alive, by finding ourselves by God’s grace in a scene that we did not expect to find ourselves in. He reminds us that we are the Church of Jesus Christ sent out into the world, to announce his love. And that we must go.

A final prayer by Richard

Dear Lord, we pray that we’ll become better at going out and talking to people where they are. We pray that we’ll become better at listening to people so that we can respond in a way that relates to them. We pray that we won’t try to stay in control and instead be willing to trust in You. We pray that we’ll go wherever you lead us and say whatever you put in our hearts. Lord, we pray that we won’t be scared, but instead be full of joy as we see people turning to you.

Lord, help us to remember that we are your disciples here, today. We know that the harvest is plentiful, so send us out Lord, to announce your Kingdom.

Lord, we pray for your blessing upon each one of us today and always. Keep us full of your joy and peace through your spirit living in us. Amen.

Watch: We'll walk the land

Watch: You make me brave (crashes over me)