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Today’s gospel reading is about a wedding so let’s imagine we can watch a wedding somewhere in Palestine but 2,000 years ago.

The Sabbath Day would be sacrosanct and the other six days of the week would be for work so the wedding would take place after dark. The ceremony and banquet would be in the home of the groom who, with friends and family would first go to fetch his bride, maybe from the next village. It would be a noisy affair.

Matthew 7:24-27 - “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine, said Jesus, and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.

“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”

Welcome:

Call to Worship:

We enter God’s holiness.
We are calmed by God’s peace.
We are warmed by God’s love.
Let us be challenged by God’s teaching.
Amen.

Bidding Prayer:

As we draw together to worship let us remember that we are in the presence of a King not a King for whom we have to dress up and paint the building but a King who loves us and comes to us just as we are.

So come Holy Spirit.

When Jesus was a child the Romans introduced the census tax. It was so unpopular that a man called Judas – a good revolutionary name – led an uprising against it.

The Romans dealt ruthlessly with those who’d taken part in the uprising. The countryside was littered with the crosses bearing the bodies of dead or dying revolutionaries. It was a warning and a reminder to the people that paying tax was not optional, but compulsory. You have to wonder what effect this had on Jesus as a boy.

The generosity of God is the story written large across the whole of the Bible. It’s there on the very first page: ‘God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good’ (Genesis 1:20-21).

The video we saw before the hymn was something that Sheila Richardson sent me and it really moved me. How do we use words, spoken or written, it’s incredibly important. Things came to mind recently about the power of words.

We’d gone to see Sarah Millican, the comedienne, in concert. She talked very poignantly of an event in her life that had a profound effect on her.

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Welcome
Sing Bless the Lord O My Soul (10,000 Reasons)
Opening prayers
The Story of Jonah
Sing Our God is a Great Big God
Children leave
Readings Psalm 145.1-9 read by Geoff Sutcliffe
Matthew 20:1-16 read by Anne and Peter Haslam
Sing H&P 215 Amazing Grace
Sermon
Sing I the Lord of Sea and Sky
Prayers of Intercession by Brian Smith and Denis Kirkham
Offering
Sing Blessed Assurance
Blessing
Welcome
Sing Bless the Lord O My Soul (10,000 Reasons)

The day and date of Tuesday 11th September 2001 will stay in the minds of millions of people throughout the world.

Many remember where they were and the shock and horror they felt as we witnessed the planes slamming into the Twin Towers in New York. What many people are not aware of that it was also the day the world’s largest arms fair took place in London, which slipped quietly under the radar.

This event, the DSEI – Defence and Security Equipment International takes place in London every two years and it will do again this year, opening its doors on Tuesday for five days and expecting to attract over 34,000 delegates. The delegates include representatives from regimes accused of human rights abuses, and protests against it will take place every day during the event.

How did you choose what to wear today? Seemed the most suitable. Right for the weather, What was due for wearing. What others may think, What you like at the moment. Only thing clean! Other things need mending. Nothing else matches.

Young children are a bit different – wear what parents think they ought to wear (leave what they want to wear for another time). Older children have very fixed ideas!

Children don’t take many of our thoughts into consideration. A lot of this is not about what we actually like –it is more about other factors and about appearances. Living in an apartment block I can’t, for instance, wander around in my oldest clothes like I used to – what would people think!

On the other hand, how often have we squirmed in our new clothes or shoes just to look our best for the occasion.

We watched a film for children earlier in which the lesson of the story was identified as a moral one -to be a good neighbour is to help anyone and anything in trouble, person or cat.

We can give some time to think of two other aspects and unpack these

a) It may be obvious and this was unpacked slightly in the film earlier but we should give some thought to the person who is other e.g. the Samaritan
b) Less obvious we come to that later.


A) A huge challenge and obscurity in the story is the level of divisiveness in the story. A big division in the identity of the hero—a Samaritan. The scandal of the story is lost if we fail to appreciate the deep animosity between the ‘people of Israel’ and Samaritans.

What's your favourite food? If you were stranded on a desert island what would you take with you?

Top 5 dishes put in order:

  1. Fish & Chips
  2. Pizza
  3. Chinese stir fry
  4. Chicken Tikka Masala
  5. Spaghetti Bolognese

What would you do if the food you normally ate was taken away?

  • No chicken nuggets
  • No Big Mac.

We are going to find out about a young man who faced that situation.

Call to Worship: Christ calls us to come to worship
To rest from the things that are troubling us
To learn what Christ can teach of life
To realise what we can offer to others
And so to return into the world to serve
Let us worship God

Sing the Faith 82 O Lord my God, When I in Awesome Wonder

Opening Prayers

Lord of Power and Creativity

Today we want to offer you our praise and thanksgiving
We praise you for the life you have given us
We thank you for the air we breathe
We praise you for the love you have shown us
We thank you for your Spirit who lives within us and moves among us.

When I looked at the readings for this morning the obvious place to start was with the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. It’s a well-known and popular reading, perhaps too well-known, but as I prayed I kept being drawn to the opening verses of the passage “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”

What had Jesus heard? What was it that made him get into a boat by himself and row away from his disciples and the vast crowds following him to be alone? If you read the passage before it ends this way “John was beheaded in prison and his head brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.”

Luke 13:1-9. I'm not sure what it is about summer, maybe its the warmer days, or the idea that less people are going to hear you preach because they are on holiday, but I like the idea of shacking of the set for readings for the day and preach on a theme or a big question.

Last summer I preached on John chapter 14 where Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Which means that Gandi, the peace making inspirational Hindu, who didn't know Jesus, must have gone to hell. I'm not sure that's where I ended up, but it is where we started.

And that made me think about some of the big questions in life .

Children and adults alike are drawn to superheroes because Spiderman can spin webs and climb tall buildings, Wolverine has his claws and Superman can do just about anything.

Children all over the world pretend to be superheroes as they play. A pair of underpants over their jeans, a towel for a cape and they’re away! A medical report was done on children who were taken into hospital after having accidents because they’d thought they were superheroes, “The children we saw have all had to contemplate on their way to hospital that they do not in fact possess superpowers.” and “The children were injured after initiating flight without having planned their landing strategies.”

Romans 6 v. 12 - 23; Matthew 10 v.40 - 42 - ‘Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me.’

A couple of weeks ago, there was a community cohesion event in Bolton, to remember and celebrate the life and work of the MP Jo Cox, who was murdered a year ago, and whose maiden speech in Parliament included the words ‘we are far more united and have far more in common than the things that divide us’’.

At the event, we also heard about the move to make Bolton a ‘City of Sanctuary’… part of a national movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, specially for those seeking sanctuary from war and persecution, committed to providing a strong network of support for the vulnerable, destitute and victims of hate crime.

Yesterday Christianity was declared illegal. The government finally passed legislation declaring Christians a dangerous and subversive group, banning any Christian from holding public office in any government organization including schools or armed forces or from holding public meetings or sharing their message.

Christians, they stated, have no respect for private property and spread a message that undermines the family, the government, and the economy. Christian priests and ministers will face prosecution and potentially imprisonment, and anyone refusing to sign a document denying the teachings of Christianity will face heavy fines.

This month’s hero isn’t a hero at all. In fact, he’s a bit of an “anti-hero” because his story starts badly and doesn’t really get any better. I think there is a little bit of Jonah in all of us, and probably a lot of Jonah in many of us.

His name is Jonah and he lived about 2800 years ago. At the beginning of the story he’s running away from God and at the end of the story he’s arguing with God. So not much of a hero.

In fact, the only hero is the story is God! But we’re going to tell his story anyway, because Jonah’s story is our story too.

It’s a short story – 4 chapters, 1300 words – it’ll take you less than 15 minutes to read it.

A training college for ministers carried out an experiment. A group of students were told that they were to go to a certain church to deliver a sermon about the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of the students were told that they were running late and needed to hurry. Along the route to the church, the college had hired an actor to play the role of a victim of an attack.

Ninety percent of the “late” students ignored the person they thought had been attacked in their rush to get to the church. The final report said this “On several occasions, the student going to give their sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as they hurried on their way!”

Sermon 30th April 2017: This month it is Bible Month and for four weeks it will be on the Letter of James week one Chap 1v.29- 27. The letter of James was written to the early Christians.

The joys and challenges of being a follower of Jesus expect to suffer as Christians. And this still goes on today throughout the world. Experience of unchanging Love of God as demonstrated supremely in Jesus. It offers practical guidance in putting Faith into Practice. In some things, it needs to be quick, in others better to be slow and it involves Patience.

Palm Sunday – day of mixed emotions – optional gospel readings – Praise & joy of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and solemnity of Passion story.

In Kathmandu, at Catholic Church, worship outside & procession inside for Passion.

I grew up to regard Palm Sunday as a joyful day but (perhaps because we don't always give Good Friday its proper place), we now regard it as a day of both joy and sorrow – somewhat superficial joy and profound sorrow.

Palm crosses so appropriate.

The mayor of a small town in France had a problem. The town was running out of space. Not in housing, as you may expect, but in the cemetery. There was no room for any more graves. It was full to capacity. So the mayor tried to buy a piece of land that was next to the cemetery, but it wasn’t for sale.

Having no space in the cemetery and unable to purchase more land the Mayor did what any politician would do… he passed a law. And he passed a law informing the residents of the town that they were no longer allowed to die. It read: "All persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in this town are forbidden from dying in the parish…. Offenders will be severely punished."

Briefly share the story with the rest of us - just the key bits.

Can you find some detail in the story that you didn't already know or something you had forgotten?

How do you think the key people in the story feel?
Have you ever felt like that?

What does the story tell us about God?

The birth of Moses
Exodus 1: 1 - 2: 10

Murder!
Moses 2:11-25

[John 3.1-17] After the reading of this story we sang, The Spirit lives to set us free, walk, walk in the light [Singing the Faith 397]

One day at half term I was walking with my grandson in the lakes. The moss and the lichens are at their best this time of year and I spotted a lovely clump on a stone wall. Out came my camera. Above the were two strands of barbed wire through which I could see the summit of the Old Man of Coniston. So, I bent down to frame just the right picture, focus it properly and get the exposure right.

An overweight man decided it was time to shed some pounds. He informed his colleagues at work that he was going on a diet and would no longer be bringing donuts into the office each day. He knew it would be hard to resist stopping at the bakery on the way to work, but he was determined to remain strong and resist temptation in order to lose some weight.

So his colleagues were surprised one morning to see him arrive at the office with a big box of donuts. When they reminded him of his diet, he just smiled.

I wonder if anyone has climbed Kilimanjaro or any other mountain? What’s it like when you get to the top of a mountain? The view, silence, tired etc.

In the story, we heard from Matthew’s Gospel we find Jesus going up a mountain with Peter, James and John. The thought is that this could have been Mount Tabor in Central Galilee or Mount Hermon near to Caesarea Philippi.

You can imagine the scene, a group of young men climbing the mountain laughing chatting. Maybe trying to be the first to the top, tired when they got there, flopping down completely out of breath.

Sermon: Matt. 5 v, 21-37. Deut. 30 v. 15-20

‘What is truth?’ - Pilate asked Jesus, just before sentencing him to death.

It’s a big question… are we talking about ‘my’ truth, or ‘your’ truth, or ‘alternative facts’…?

What’s wrong with basing our decisions on our own wishes or opinions? Why shouldn’t we ignore those ‘inconvenient truths’, and manipulate things to get what we want?

There was a lot of that going on as Pilate asked his question.

Are any of you fans of the television quiz show Pointless? If you’ve never watched it, then the aim of the game is to guess the most obscure correct answer to a question. So a question for you - which pointless favourite is the answer to this question?

Of which country was this said: "We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is no different to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us."

Call to Worship – The people living in darkness have seen a great light. Let us come before our Living Lord, prepared to see His light and to worship Him

Hymn: StF 495 – Dear Lord and Father of mankind.

  • Prayers
  • Lord’s Prayer (Sing)

I’m sure that I’m not alone in saying that I find the Covenant Service one of the hardest – if not THE hardest service of the year. There is a challenge in the Covenant Service that if we take seriously, what we are committing ourselves too, gives us a feeling of trepidation.

Discipline, self-denial and sacrifice are required to live in a covenant relationship with God, and if we are honest with ourselves we know that we are not completely up to the challenge, however good are intentions might be.

There are clear implications placed upon us, if we take the words of the Covenant Prayer (on the screen) seriously. Surrender and obedience in every aspect of our lives, choices and decisions made in prayerful reflection to discern the will of God for each of us.

Christ has many services to be done;
Some are easy, others are difficult;
Some bring honour, other bring reproach;
Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests,
Others are contrary to both;
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves,
In others, we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves,
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ who strengthens us.

Therefore let us make this covenant of God our own.
Let us give ourselves to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.

Beloved in Christ, let us again claim for ourselves this covenant which God has made with his people, and take upon us the yoke of Christ.

This means that we are content that he appoint us our place and work,
and that himself be our reward.

Christ has many services to be done:
Some are easy, others are difficult;
Some bring honour, others bring reproach;
Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interest, other contrary to both;
In some ways, we may please Christ and please ourselves;
In others, we cannot please Christ by denying ourselves,
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.

At Christmas time, one story you will hear many times is that of the Nativity. It all began with a girl called Mary who heard a WISPA, from an angel who told her that she would give birth to God's son. “But how can this be?” she thought, because she was not yet married to Joseph. To have a baby now would be real TOPIC of conversation in the village. But in a heavenly ECHO, Joseph also heard of God's plan and decided he had to go along with it, because he was a KINDER man.

Before the baby arrived, political events overtook them. Joseph had to return to Bethlehem for the census - it was miles away - a MARATHON of a journey, but Joseph thought the BREAK-A-WAY would do Mary good. They had to travel on a donkey simply because in those days they couldn’t get an AEROplane, a DOUBLE DECKER, or even a TAXI.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without songs like Chris Rea’s “Driving home for Christmas” and the millionth re-run of the movie “Home Alone” on the television.

It’s the story of a young 8-year-old boy called Kevin McCallister, who lives with his family in a large house in Chicago. For Christmas, the family is coming on holiday to Europe. As all the relatives show up, there is a lot of confusion in the house, and Kevin gets into trouble. When things get out of control, he is sent to the attic bedroom to sleep. In the middle of his tantrum, Kevin tells his mother that he hates her and that he wishes that he never has to see his family again.

A housewife was one day washing dishes in the kitchen sink. She looked at one particular plate. She stared at it for a long time and asked herself over and over again, “how many times have I washed this plate? How many times have I dried it? How many times will I wash and dry it again in the years to come?” She then set down the plate, took off her apron, packed a few of her belongings and left.

That night she called home to tell her husband that she was alright, but that she just couldn’t come home again. From time to time over the next few weeks she would call to just see how her husband was getting on. But she would never tell him where she was, or give into his pleas to come home.

We’ve been having a debate in our house for the past week or so. When is the right time to put your Christmas decorations up? Les would have them up by now. When I was a child we always had to wait until after 9th December, which was my Mum’s birthday and I’d much rather leave the tree until Les’s birthday which is 22nd December, but that always gets me a “bah humbug!”

Years ago when I worked at Whitakers (or Beales) I was surprised to walk into a room when they were sorting out Christmas stock to go onto the shop floor and it was only August! It seems that Christmas now begins straight after Halloween, and Advent doesn’t hit the majority of people’s radar at all, which is a pity.

I wonder if you can remember where you were, or what were you doing on 20 July 1969? Would it help if I said that was when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon? (Isle of Man - school trip). What about 31 August 1997? That was when news filtered through that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed in a car crash in Paris? (Holiday at Benalmadena).

People often recall things surrounding what are seen as momentous occasions when ordinarily they wouldn’t. The writers of our lessons this morning share visions of memorable events, things that people would dwell on for a long time and through these they offer us a message of anticipation and hope at the start of this time of Advent.

Many of us have problems remembering things particularly as we grow older. We can remember things from years ago as clearly as if they happened yesterday, but remember where we have put our keys or glasses – well, that’s another thing.

I’m certain I’m not the only person who puts something away in a safe place, but then forget where the safe place is! Which may be fine, but my nephew drew quite a bit of money out of the bank several years ago to convert to dollars to go on holiday, then he forgot where he put it so they had to do the same thing all over again. And they only found the original money when they were moving house! He was in his 30’s at the time, so I’m not sure how he’ll be when he’s older!

The celebration of Christ the King Sunday has only been around since 1925. It came at a time when secularism was on the rise, when the political landscape of Europe was changing and many people doubted Christ’s authority and even His existence. It was hoped that the leaders of the nations would see that the Church had the right to freedom; that people would respect Christ and that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration. Not much has changed has it?

But what kind of king is Jesus? What kind of king is this that we have gathered here this morning to celebrate?

A couple of months ago at St Andrew’s in one of our evening services we reflected on legacies. One of our members, who was also the Deacon of our circuit, Marion; had recently passed away. The evening was split into two sections: remembering Marion and other people who were near and dear to us, but also reflecting on legacies of people in history and who are alive. I got the second section – people then and now.

I decided to share some reflections on Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu and the main point that I was trying to make in reflecting on these wonderful people from history is that it is one thing to remember a legacy and one thing to act upon a legacy, which came mainly from the life of Martin Luther King and the American society today.

Last week I was involved in a very difficult meeting. The morning after I was on my way to another meeting in Horwich. The sun was shining as I drove passed the lodges and as I did a formation of geese flew overhead, honking. It was a beautiful sight and one that gave me great encouragement.

When Les and I lived in Northwich we lived near the flashes and each winter thousands of Canadian geese would fly overhead as they congregated on their way south for the winter. It was always a breath taking sight to see hundreds of geese flying in formation and making the most horrendous racket.

The story of the ‘holy grail’ of Radford. Suddenly discovered something, which I should have known all along – when I finally got what I most wanted, it didn’t mean that much.

Richard III was a cruel and heartless man. At the famous battle at Bosworth in August 1485, the soldiers of Henry Tudor fought and defeated the much larger army of Richard III. Many of Richard’s soldiers sickened by his deceit, treachery and murder had deserted him. He had fought bravely in close combat, but his horse had been killed and horse-less in the midst of a battle field is not place to be for a king. Trying to make himself heard above the noise of the battle, according to Shakespeare, Richard shouted out “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

Psalm 8: (read from ‘The Message’) I have for you today, a reflection on this Psalm.

What about this Psalm written by David? Is it possible? Can it really be true that God has time for you and for me? In the grand scheme of things, why should God be concerned about us? Why should God be bothered about our fate?

When we look at the sky and the vastness of the heavens; when we hear the sound of water running in a stream or washing upon the shore; when we smell newly cut grass or the perfume of so many different flowers; and when we touch tiny fingers and tiny toes. When we experience at the tapestry of creation what are we? The tiniest speck against the great backdrop of history and yet......!!

In 1669 the Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted “The return of the prodigal son”. It now hangs in the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. Spend time looking at this painting and you will feel the weight of a sense of great tragedy. The contrast between the light and the dark, the two mysterious figures that appear dimly in the background, the woman behind the father, the stoic appearance of the man who stands on the side, and the dishevelled appearance of the younger brother, all add to this sense of tragedy.

Am actually preaching from the lectionary. The readings are connected to each other.

Was going to fly the flag for “Songs of Praise” as it on at the same time three consecutive Sundays but then the third time it started five minutes early.

Always complaining/ moaning but sometimes right, to speak sense and the truth.

Like 15 v.2 the Pharisees were well-known complainers and muttered this man (Jesus) welcomes sinners and eats with them.

Some facts about Raeya:

  • At conception, Jacob and Danni each contributed 50,000 genes to determine what Raeya would like look. Their genes will partly determine her talents, tastes, athletic abilities, intelligence, allergies and more.
  • At conception Raeya’s sex was already determined, although it took another 46 days to recognize that she was a girl.
  • By the time Danni was 8 weeks pregnant Raeya was already a miniature human being – with arms, legs and a heartbeat, her nervous, digestive and respiratory systems were up and running.

Readings: Jeremiah chapter 2 v 4 – 13; Hebrews chapter 12 v 1-2 and v12-13

Theme: I wish to use the two readings today to help us reflect a little on our identity as people of faith and how we define that identity -what’s involved

Context:The reading from Jeremiah refers to a time just before the fall of Judah. The people face looming despair. In the words of Private Fraser, “We’re doomed, all doomed”.

This people we’re God’s chosen people and yet they faced huge uncertainty. So what of their identity as God’s people? How do they begin to place understanding of their present experience?

I had no choice but to go to the supermarket because there was no food in the house and we were expecting visitors for tea. I had lots to do, I raced around the shop and came home with 9 bags of shopping – I counted them. I let myself in the front door and the family were happily watching the television. I made trip after trip from the car to the kitchen with the bags, but my sighs were ignored. My conversation with the cat about these heavy bags, were ignored.

My unpacking of the bags and the banging of putting the shopping away was ignored.

The disciples, having watched Jesus pray, asked him to teach them how to pray. They recognised how important it was in his life and knew that they too had a need to pray. An area of prayer that perhaps we do not consider very often is persistence in prayer. “Pester power” is a topic that comes up quite often on the news. It’s the name given to adverts – mainly on television, which encourage children to pester their parents for things they simply must have. Be it the latest computer game at Christmas or the newest brand of cereal on the supermarket shelves.

Beethoven, the great composer would quite often play to salon audiences. Sometimes if he guessed that they weren’t really interested in serious music he would play a trick on them. He would play a slow movement from one of his compositions for piano something gentle and beautiful that would lull his audience into thinking the world was a soft, cosy place where they could drift off and dream beautiful daydreams.

Then, just the final notes were dying away Beethoven would bring his fore arm crashing down on the keys and laugh at the shock he had caused.

For a nation seemingly obsessed with sport we don’t seem to have caught the excitement of the Olympic Games in Rio this year. Certainly nothing like London 4 years ago, and it may be that you’ve no interest in the Olympic Games at all, but I hope you’ll bear with me as I use the theme of the games for a few moments.

Today at the games you could be watching archery, boxing or table tennis. You can watch Mo Farah in 10,000m on Sunday 14th August if you’re prepared to get up at 1.25am and 5,000m the Sunday after at 1.30am in the morning or Usain Bolt in the final of 100m on Sunday 21st August at 10.25pm – but don’t fall asleep because you’ll miss it!

The old lady died - her nosy neighbour (knowing the will had been read) said to one of the relatives…

‘I don’t suppose she left a lot?’

‘Oh’ said the very wise relation, ‘She left everything’.

The young man who came to Jesus was most upset - not apparently because his dad had died - but because the inheritance laws meant the eldest brother got the lot, and it wasn‘t fair. He wanted this teacher he’d heard so much about to say so, and maybe shame his brother into sharing.

Bible readings: Jeremiah 29: 10-13, Luke 11: 1-13

Introduction: How did you journey to church today? Walk, car, bus, cycle, train, taxi? I wonder who has travelled the furthest? Did anyone use a sat-nav? Was your journey without incident? Did you get held up? My train journey on Thursday to Derby wasn’t without incident when I ended up getting on the wrong train in Sheffield!

Lesson 1 – My favourite things Would you like a smartie? Choir and children – watch as they select a particular colour.

You tube clip – my favourite things from “The sound of music”

Who likes the “Sound of music?” Is it your favourite musical? What is?

What are your favourite things?

  • Favourite toy
  • Football team
  • Footballer
  • Soap opera on TV
  • Favourite food
  • Subject at school

Evening Service: Is there something for you that represents the busyness of your life? A diary, calendar, watch, mobile phone or computer for example. Something that you would be lost without, but sometimes wish you could lose even for a few days. Or be in an area where it is impossible to get a signal for your phone? Or a power cut or battery failure means you can’t use the computer?

A group of porters were once rushing through the jungle at a ridiculous pace set by a group of men who’d hired them. Eventually they got to a clearing and sat down. When the men tried desperately to get the porters back onto their feet and moving again the head porter refused saying “no, we’re not moving another inch. We’ve come so far and so fast that now we have to wait for our souls to catch up with us.”

How many of you have had Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door? Did you welcome the chance to talk with them about God or not? Not many people are happy to talk when they ring the doorbell, though I admire them for doing something I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. But whether you appreciate the visit or not, they are following the instructions Jesus sets out for us in the Luke reading.

I’m not going to suggest that you too should be out there going door to door among your neighbours to talk about Jesus, I’m not sure that knocking on doors is highly effective. But before you sit back in relief and relax, we need to think about what this passage does means for us. If it doesn’t mean that we should be going door-to-door, two-by-two, then what does it have to say to us today?

When Shirley and I were fortunate enough to be honeymooning in Hawaii, one of our most memorable evenings was attending a “lu’au.”

Now a lu’au is an evening of feasting and entertainment, with the main item of food being a pig which has been ‘slow-cooked’ for many hours in a pre-heated hole in the ground. That pulled pork was ample for the hundreds attending the lu’au.

[Photo: long team of oxen] Now the Old Testament reading we heard earlier talked about oxen - animals we are not very familiar with in this country nowadays - in fact, they disappeared here about the time that photography started in the 1840’s being replaced by horses.

Opening Prayers: Based on Psalm 103:8-13; Romans 8:15 and Ephesians 2:13-19

Lord God we thank you and praise you for you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. You do not always accuse or harbour anger forever; you do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is your love for those who fear you; as far as the east is from the west, so far you remove our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, you have compassion on us.

It’s fascinating to see how many times Jesus uses a boat or is at the lakeside during his ministry, and of course we can all recall those amazing stories throughout the bible: we can start with Noah: we of course mustn’t forget Jonah, and all the superstitious sailors involved in that story!

And later in the new testament is that very descriptive passage in Acts 27:27ff - telling of how Paul and his companions were shipwrecked on Malta. But first we have this story; short in length but BIG in content.

Psalm 8, Romans 5 : 1 - 11, John 3 : 1 - 17

Despite it nearly being 10 years since I started local preaching there is still a certain nervousness when the preaching plan comes out. Please don't send me to Westhoughton - If I wanted to be a missionary in another country that's what I would have signed up for.

Please don't send me to Ainsworth on Remembrance Day - I've been 3 times already and I really can't think of a new angle to approach it.

I thought I'd let lucky being sent here - until I checked the lectionary - And then my heart sank when I found out it was Trinity Sunday.

John 14:8-17, (25-27): 14:8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 13: 34 -35. 'A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.' Another translation puts it like this: 'It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognise you as my disciples.'

Powerful stuff. Don't you think?

I must have read or heard this passage read dozens of times but the impact of it has only really just struck home. Everyone should know we are Christians by our love – Love should make a difference to the way we live! It doesn't say they will know we are Christians because we go to Church! But because of how much love we show to other people.

A couple of weeks ago I preached about Thomas and the other disciples in the upper room after Jesus’ resurrection and about fear and failure. Many people after the service told me of occasions when they’d felt both those things. We all at times feel afraid or feel that we’ve failed at something – afraid of someone at school or that we had a test and we didn’t do very well.

When I got home, during the afternoon I went onto face book and someone had put up the following words:

Don’t tell your God how big your giants are, tell your giants how big your God is”

You may know the story of the little girl who asks her mother, “Mummy do all fairy stories end with “And they all lived happily ever after?” and her Mum replies “no dear, some end with “After I became a Christian all my problems disappeared.” We all know that being a Christian does not make our problems miraculously disappear.

However, the Easter season does bring us in touch with another fairy story. It’s the idea that everything was wonderful once Jesus had risen from the dead, but our passage this morning clearly shows that this was not the case.

Notes from Revd. Keith Jump's sermon: BASED ON LUKE 24 ; 1-12 ; 1 CORINTHIANS 15 : 12 - 22

FEELINGS ABOUT STATE OF WORLD FOLLOWING BRUSSELS ATTACKS. HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? HOW DO WE RESPOND? PRAYERS FOR POLITICIANS. BUT WHAT ABOUT U

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND/ WEATHER/REST FROM WORK/FORGET OUR WORRIES/GREAT BANK HOLIDAY LET'S GO THE SHOPS/BANK HOLIDAY BARGAIN

What gets you excited? We’re a mix of characters here this morning – some wildly enthusiastic, some terribly British and reserved.

Today, we’ve already heard about a crowd that went really wild, cheering Jesus on the day when he entered Jerusalem.

Are you naturally quiet and reserved or are you loud and in your face?

St. John Chapter 19: 31-35 (“The Message”): "Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and so the bodies wouldn’t stay on the crosses over the Sabbath… petitioned Pilate that their legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down."

"So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man crucified with Jesus and then the other. When they got to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.

I got up this morning and made some choices:-

Which shower gel would I use – Molton Brown or good old Imperial Leather?

What colour blouse would I wear today? If feels like a blue day.

What to have for breakfast? Blue Wheaties with granola on top or apple and cinnamon porridge?

We seem to live in very noisy times, modern life is full of sounds, it’s very rare to ‘hear’ absolute silence.

There are all sorts of sounds living in a large town like Bolton, from traffic, to the hubbub of voices to music to name but a few. Yet there are some sounds that we don’t hear very often. One of them is the sound of a cockerel crowing. Even living here on the border of town and countryside you’re unlikely to hear one.

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: 2000 years ago under the Roman Empire if you committed a crime they had a terrible way of dealing with you.

They would strip you of all your clothes, whip you, beat you, strap a huge piece of wood to your shoulders, put a sign around your neck – or have someone carry it for you saying what your crime was and parade you through the streets.

On this first Sunday in Lent we hear the account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

Jesus has been baptised by John in the River Jordan and He is now on the threshold of His public ministry.

But Jesus is not led to the Temple or the synagogue, instead the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness.

My time as a minister in Chorley, on the whole is remembered with joy, expect for one instance. I had a member in one of my churches who was a bully.

He’d bullied my predecessors and he tried to bully me. I gather he had been no different in his working life either. He was very rude to people before and after services, church meetings were a minefield as you didn’t know what he was going to say or the tone of voice he was going to use, and generally he was a very difficult man.

Story: It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder echoed through the mountains. Lightning intermittently illuminated the tall turrets of Castle Corinth, perched precipitously on a forbidding cliff.

Somewhere, a wolf – or something – howled. Bats flapped through the gloom. Chains rattled, trees shivered, and even the wind seemed to moan over what was about to happen.

Sermon - Year C - 3rd in Ordinary Time Luke 4 v. 14-21; Nehemiah 8 - Selected verses; 1 Cor. 12 v. 12-31a

Two weeks ago I had one of those worship experiences that had me quaking at the knees… Like every church in the circuit we, at Harwood, have been encouraged to explore what makes churches and their congregations ‘fruitful’.

As Hilary has already said I am approaching the final stages of my journey into ordained ministry, having been stationed to serve in the Lancashire West Circuit.

It’s a journey that began in 2008 when I started my training as a local preacher, and will lead to my ordination in 2018. As many of you know, nothing happens quickly in Methodism !

Why are human beings so obsessed with numbers? They count everything -- wouldn't find self-respecting donkeys like us wasting all our time counting things. Life's too short for that. Humans, though - well!

Now let me see, what was I working up to? Oh, yes - the census. That’s how we came to be in the silly situation we're in now.

Once upon a time, there were two young brothers, who were always getting into trouble. Whenever anything went wrong, you’d know they had something to do with it.

Like the day all the wheelie bins in the street were set on fire. Nobody could prove it had anything to do with them, but the brothers had been spotted lurking in the vicinity just about the time when the first call was put through to the local fire station.

Advent liturgy – Atkinson family - WELCOME - May I give you all a very warm welcome this evening to The Triangle Community Methodist Church to hear the story of Jesus, the baby who was born on the first Christmas – Jesus, who is the Son of God.

Christmas time is for many people about giving and receiving gifts.

ROMANS Chapter 12 verses 1 + 2

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the Apostle Paul, who wrote many of the books in the New Testament. I despair at a man who could at times appear very arrogant and superior – though I’m sure he’d disagree with me - and yet at other times write the most beautiful words.

We’re going back in time this morning. The year is approximately 450 years before the birth of Christ and about 100 years since the people had returned from exile in Babylon - that’s Iraq – to you and me.

They had begun to make new lives for themselves, they were settled, becoming part of the people and culture around them.

Message 1 So here we are – the 1st Sunday in Advent – and how strange that I am standing here today – this time last year I was here too – I remember it well because it was my final reported service in my local preacher training.

I had planned to stand here today and say I am celebrating because it’s all finished – but unfortunately (and you know what they say about the best laid plans!!!!) I heard yesterday that I have to resubmit one assignment so who knows when I will officially finish!!!

Who likes playing games on phone, tablet, computer, console, TV?

[Play on phone, Oooooh! ] What happened?
You always make a mess of it, eventually. Then what?
You get a fresh start and hope to do better.
Do you ever say sorry to your game? [Stroke phone & say sorry]
No of course not!

"The Widow’s Gift." Introduction [with the young people present]

Who likes playing games on a phone or tablet? I’ve brought mine this morning so watch me and tell me what happened. [I ‘played’ a bit then let out a yell and stopped] It’s a sure thing – sooner or later I will make a mess of it.

And then what? You get a few points and a fresh start.

There are literally thousands of definitions of who, and what, friendship is all about.

  • Friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself
  • A friend is someone who comes in when the world has gone out
  • A friend is someone who knows all about you, and likes you just the same

Introduction: Illustration which reveals that for some situations. a) Silence can mean togetherness / relationship and argument is division. b) Argument can mean togetherness/relationship and silence is division. The focus for our thinking toady in a relationship with God.

Faith is active participation in a relationship with God. Not a passive relationship-Faith is not sitting and have things done or to you.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been thinking about hospitality and welcome in church and today we’re going to start with that and two occasions when Jesus was either invited for dinner, or he invited himself for dinner.

In the first one Jesus was invited to eat by Simon, who was a Pharisee, who probably was looking forward to debating with Jesus over dinner.

(intro) I’m sorry. I’ll start off with an apology - I got side-tracked when preparing this sermon

I’ve got the middle Sunday of a short series about “welcome”. Hillary came and talked to me about it and dropped some materials off at my house. The materials were from Robert Schnase’s book and materials for “5 practices of fruitful congregartions”.

One job that I’ve always fancied doing is being a mystery shopper. You know they go into shops and check out how things are going.

How those on the checkouts speak to you, how if you ask a member of staff where an item is rather than vaguely point in the right direction, they’ll take you – just in case you’re a mystery shopper and are making a report on them.

The service was based on the appointed readings for the day which consisted of: Numbers ch. 11 verses 4-17, 24-25a, James ch. 5 verses 13-20, St. Mark ch. 11 verses 13-50

These readings gave us the theme of the service which was “Do’s and Don’ts.” The young people’s talk used a list of ‘Playroom Rules’ which included the following:

What have you used water for this morning? It’s something that we use every day but possibly don’t even think about. You may not realise how important it is.

What sort of things have you used water for already this morning?

  • Having a wash or shower.
  • Making a drink.
  • Cleaning your teeth.

Children’s Talk - Illustration: Carbon- Coal, Charcoal, Graphite pencils & Diamonds

Explain: Diamonds:

  • Extremely hard crystal made of pure of carbon
  • same stuff as pencil leads
  • ordinary stuff, made extraordinary
  • Come from diamond mines

Last week I spoke about how we can use our gifts and abilities in the world. This morning, I want to focus on how we use our gifts – our spiritual and natural gifts and abilities within the church and to build God’s kingdom.

Since quite a few people became members here back in August, I’ve been asked several times “What can I do within the church?” or “What is needed here?”

1749 - I rode, at the desire of John Bennet, to Rochdale, in Lancashire. As soon as ever we entered the town, we found the streets lined on both sides with multitudes of people, shouting, cursing, blaspheming, and gnashing upon us with their teeth.

Perceiving it would not be practicable to preach abroad, I went into a large room, open to the street, and called aloud, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts."

A young man watched the news each day and was seriously struggling with the things he saw. He spent a lot of time feeling angry and frustrated. He was out for a walk, something on the news that day had really upset him and he was thinking once again about the state of the world.

As he walked passed a church, he noticed the front door open so he went it. He paced up and down the aisles, slapping the back of the empty pews. He yelled, he cried, and he raged at God.

Our theme this morning is “Families” – because this is a special family occasion –for Reece and Holly’s family and for the church family as we welcome them into OUR family. Being part of a family where you feel loved and cared for is very special, though not every person knows how that feels, sadly.

Does anyone recognise the families we’ve got on the screen?

[excerpt] 1 Peter 1 verse 25 “…the word of the Lord endures forever”.

The writer of this letter isn’t expounding some new truth they have recently experienced, but is quoting directly from the Old Testament, from the Book of Isaiah Chapter 40, as we heard in our Call to Worship.

As a child I was a member of this guy’s club (show picture of Tufty). I’m sure many of you will recognise Tufty, though those not born in the 60’s will look very blank.

This is Tufty and he was the symbol of a club set up to teach children about road safety. I quickly grew out of Tufty and now look back on him with a nostalgic “aah”.

LEFTOVERS - 2 Kings 4:42-44; John 6:1-20 – 26.7.15. (Image: Clarke’s Feeding of the 5000)

John 6:12-13 - When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (Image: Text)

On the seventh day God finished all the work he had done, and he rested…. (Genesis 2:2)

Reading: In the beginning (from the Storytellers Bible – page 8) (Steve)

God takes a break – what about you?

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Welcome

Welcome to the Triangle Community Methodist Church, we’re glad you’re here.

If you’re new to our church family, a few things to make you feel at home amongst us:

Evening Service: 6.30pm
(2nd Sunday of Each Month)

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Services

Sunday: 10.30am

(lasting about 80 minutes)

Evening Service: 6.30pm
(2nd Sunday of Each Month)

Morning Worship, Junior Church & Crèche.

Holy Communion: 1st Sunday of each month.

All Age Worship: 3rd Sunday of each month.

Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals arranged, please contact Rev. Hilary Howarth
Tel: 01204 291698 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Triangle Community Methodist Church - Learning More Together Groups 2017 - 2018

We hope there is something that captures your imagination and inspires you to come along to share with other Christians, or simply to listen. If you require any further details, please don’t hesitate to speak to Hilary on 01204 291698

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