The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 16

When I was growing up we used to have a minature poodle who knew its own mind.  When out for a walk he would decide to stop, sit down and put his paw on the lead.  The only thing that would allow us to carry on our journey was if Mum picked up the dog and carried him.  I spoke of Haggai last week, he wrote to the returned exiles who had stopped doing God’s work.  He said to the leaders and the people  “4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest.  Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work.  For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  (Chapter 2 v.4)

Sometimes you meet people who seem to have decided to stop and discourage others from going on as well.  They might live in the past, remembering the “good” old days and all that used to be done.  They might look to the future and ask what is the point of carrying on if we do not have enough resources? 

Do you believe God is with us?  Let our actions match our words, the cartoon illustrates the opposite happening.  Covid may have stopped us from doing some things but God is still with us and we have work to do now.  God will provide all we need to do the work he has called us to. 

A poem for you.

"I was regretting the past and fearing the future…
Suddenly my Lord was speaking

‘When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is NOT I WAS

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears.
It is hard. I am not there.
My name is NOT I WILL BE

When you live in this moment,
It is not hard.
I am here.
My name is I AM’ "

Helen Mallicoat (American writer)

Our present is someone else’s past, our future is someone else’s present.  We lay the foundations now for others to carry on building in the future.  As a church and as individuals we need to seek God to build as He wants for the future.

Listening to a recording of our audio service

Please note that the service will be recorded on a Sunday morning and then be available as soon as possible after the service.  

If you have the internet, then go to our website (www.RRBC.org.uk) where you will find a recording under the audio files.  Or on our face book page.

If you are not on the internet, we have now paid to have a “Dial-a-Service” facility.  Telephone 01536 909787 and you will be able to listen to a recording of the service on your telephone, the only cost for you will be at your normal call rate. The church covers the cost of using the facility.

Reflection

From Phillip based on Luke12 v.22-34
“How much more will He clothe you”

As some of you know I have an admiration for feats of engineering and one of my heroes from the past is Isambard Kingdom Brunel.   I would love to have met Brunel and discussed with him the buildings and structures which he created.  In a similar way I appreciate Natural History programmes, such as David Attenborough’s recent series of “Life in Colour”, and can’t help mouthing “Wow”, at the beauty and wonder that the programmes reveal.  Although I will never be able to meet Brunel, I can meet the creator behind the wonders of the natural world, for it was created by God our heavenly Father.

We inhabit a world that is wonderful and complex beyond our understanding and worship a God who as creator of all that is seen and unseen is wonderful and infinite, a phenomenal designer God, who created this world in love.  But God also lived in this world as Jesus and therefore we know that he understands our human needs, frailties and limitations.  God showed the enormity of his love by dying for us on the cross and now through the Holy Spirit longs to live with us, to put the oomph into life, and to be with us intimately in every situation, and moment of our existence. 

The passage we are looking at this week is entitled in the New International Version, “Do not worry”, an instruction which I always think is easier to say, than put into practice.  For the truth is we do worry about things, what to eat, what to wear, filling in a tax return, mending a broken appliance, how we can pay for an expensive item and so on.  In those circumstances a casual “Do not worry” does not really solve it but meeting a person who can help usually does.  When Jesus says, "Don't worry", he is not simply saying "cheer up" it may never happen.  He is not just trying to attract us for a moment as one would try and grab a child's attention by waving a brightly coloured toy.  Jesus says, "Don't worry" and wants us to meet the one who understands all things and loves us more than anything else.  As I have already remarked, the world is formed of beautiful and wonderful things, yet even with all the wonderful creatures in the world, we are much more valuable than them.  As Jesus says in the passage although God adorns the wildflowers with great beauty, how much more will he clothe you.

In saying, do not worry about food and clothes, Jesus is not saying that food and clothes are unimportant, for they are essential.  Indeed, it is a scandal that so many in our own country live in poverty and go hungry.  To say “do not worry” to someone in desperate need is not of itself going to solve the problem.  Rather, our attitude when faced with someone in need should mirror what Jesus did, which was to see what he could practically do to alleviate suffering.

Jesus says to us, "Do not worry".  In doing that he wants us to appreciate how much more valuable we are than anything in the world and he wants us to direct our focus away from self and on to something else.  He tells us to seek the kingdom of God, a kingdom that you won't find in an atlas, but a kingdom that is to be found much nearer home, in our hearts.  As our Bible reading from Jesus shows, we have in God a king who is all powerful, whose control is beyond dispute and whose care is beyond doubt.  We are told to seek the kingdom of God and the word seek is, in the original, a present imperative, meaning that it is something we should do and keep on doing.  A constant continuing command.  When we recognise and keep on recognising God as our king and become citizens of his kingdom then worries and cares of this age will not disappear but are put in perspective alongside him who cares for us, indeed for the whole world, much more than we can ever imagine. 


Zoom Bible Study

On Wednesday 28th April at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. We are starting a series looking at the first part of Romans.

“Credentials, concern and confidence” Romans 1 v.1-17

All are welcome to join - please ask Laura for details. 

Or if you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then read the passages several times and consider the following questions.

  1. How do you introduce yourself to someone you’ve never meet?  Does it vary on circumstances?
  2. In the passage what does Paul say about himself?  What are his credentials?
  3. In what five ways does Paul express his concern for the Roman believers? 
  4. What reasons are given by Paul for his confidence in the Gospel?
  5. What challenges or encourages you in this passage?

Dates

23rd May Pentecost Sunday - service outside on the car park.


Prayers

Based on the Church of England’s resource “Prayer for the nation”

Prayers for the nation
Loving God,
your Son Jesus Christ came
that we might have life and
have it abundantly;
pour out your blessing upon
our nation;
where there is illness,
bring your healing touch;
where there is fear,
strengthen us with the
knowledge of your presence;
where there is uncertainty,
build us up in faith;
where there is dishonesty,
lead us into truth;
where there is discord,
may we know the harmony of your love;
this we ask in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Please pray for our Mission of the Month
The “Open Doors” organisation supporting persecuted Christians around the world,


Songs for Sunday

Faithful One, so unchanging;
ageless One, You’re my rock of peace.
Lord of all, I depend on You,
I call out to You again and again,
I call out to You again and again.

You are my rock in times of trouble,
You lift me up when I fall down;
all through the storm
Your love is the anchor -
my hope is in You alone.

Brian Doerksen
© 1989 Vineyard Publishing CCLI #5638

1. Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea –
a great High Priest whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

2. When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there
who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
for God the Just is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

3. Behold Him there!  The risen lamb,
my perfect, spotless righteousness;
the great unchangeable ‘I AM’,
the King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself I cannot die,
my soul is purchased by His blood;
my life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ my Saviour and my God,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!

Charitie L. Bancroft, CCLI #5638