Worship 11th April

https://youtu.be/NxZbKv6P7vY



Catch-22



Many of us will have flown in a plane, and one of the things you do after settling into your seat is to check the pocket infront of you , there’ll be the in flight magazine, the sick bag incase of motion sickness and the “Safety instruction card”



Here’s what one United Airlines card said:



If you are sitting in an exit row and you cannot understand this card or cannot see well enough to follow these instructions, please tell a crew member.



Obviously, There’s a slight problem with that. If people can’t understand the card or see the instructions, how can they tell a crewmember about it?



Sounds like a Catch-22.



A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations. The term was coined by Joseph Heller, who used it in his 1961 novel Catch-22.



So before he wrote the book “Catch-22” there was no such thing as a catch-22, which in itself is a Catch-22



Believe it or not, the Bible is a lot like that safety instruction card. Many people read it without understanding it. It makes absolutely no sense to them—not because they lack eyesight or reading ability, but because they lack faith. As Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).



In other words, unless you have faith, you won’t understand the Bible. But unless you understand the Bible, you won’t have faith. Sounds like another Catch-22.



That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. When we come to the Bible with a willingness to learn, God sends his Holy Spirit to reveal what it is saying—even “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). Whenever you study God’s Word with an open heart, the Holy Spirit helps you understand it and grow stronger in your faith.



God also uses people like us to explain the Bible. When someone tells you they don’t understand the Bible, that’s like an airline passenger telling a flight attendant they don’t understand the safety instruction card. It’s up to us to make it clear.



Amen.



Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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Easter Sunday 2021

https://youtu.be/8Vr7K5O_aCk

Just Some Old Birds.

                Murmurs rippled through the congregation when Reverend George Thomas placed a rusty old bird cage on the pulpit. The church members weren’t used to their Minister using props in his sermons—especially not on Easter Sunday.

                Sensing the congregation’s confusion, Reverend Thomas explained how he had obtained the cage.

                It seems that the day before he had been walking through town when he noticed a young boy carelessly swinging the cage around. Thomas noticed that there were three obviously frightened little birds inside the cage.

                The pastor stopped the youngster and asked, “What have you got there, son?”

                “Just some old birds,” came the reply.

                “And what are you going to do with them,” he asked.

                “Take ‘em home and have some fun with ‘em,” the boy said. “I’m gonna poke ‘em and pull out their feathers and watch ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

                “But those birds don’t belong to you,” said the minister.

                “They do now,” the boy responded. “I found ‘em and I can do anything I want with ‘em.”

                “But you’ll get tired of playing with those birds, son. What will you do with them then?”

                “Oh, I’ve got some cats,” grinned the boy. “They like birds. I’ll give ‘em to my cats.”

                The pastor was silent for a moment. Then he asked, “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

                “You don’t want these birds, mister,” said the boy. “They’re just plain old sparrows. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty.”

                “How much?”

                The boy sized up the minister as if he were crazy and said, “Ten Pounds.”

                The minister reached into his pocket and took out a ten Pound Note. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor set the cage down, opened the door, and gently coaxed the birds out, setting them free.

                The congregation listened quietly as the minister told of his encounter with the boy. Then he told them another story.

                One day Jesus and the devil were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, grinning and boasting. “I just caught me a bunch of people down there. Set me a trap! Used bait I knew they couldn’t resist! Got ‘em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

                “Oh, I’m gonna have me some fun with them. I’m gonna teach them how to hurt and abuse each other. I’ll teach them how to marry and divorce each other, lie to each other, and kill each other. Oh, I’m gonna really have a good time!”

                “But those people don’t belong to you,” said Jesus.

                “They do now! I can do anything I want with them.”

               “And what will you do when you get through with them?” asked Jesus.

                “I’ll kill them.”

                “How much do you want for them?”

                “Oh, you don’t want these people,” said the devil. “They’re no good. You may love them, sure, but they’ll just hate you back. They’ll spit on you, curse you, and kill you. You don’t want these people.”

                “How much?” Jesus asked.

                Satan sized up Jesus as if he were crazy and said, “Your life.”

                The pastor ended his story this way: “Jesus paid the price. And on that first Easter Sunday morning, he picked up the cage, opened the door, and set us free.”

                “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

                Amen.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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Worship Palm Sunday 28th March 2021

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Weekly Worship 21st March

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Worship 7th March

https://youtu.be/uy8-LVeR7Dc



Table for Two



He sits by himself at a table for two. The uniformed waiter appears at his side.



“Would you like to go ahead and order, sir?” The man has, after all, been waiting since seven o’clock—almost half an hour.



“No thank you,” the man says with a smile. “I’ll wait for her a while longer. How about some more coffee?”



“Certainly, sir.”



The man sits, his deep brown eyes gazing straight through the flowered centre piece. He fingers his napkin, allowing the sounds of light chatter, tinkling silverware, and mellow music to fill his mind. Dressed in a sport coat and tie with his dark brown hair neatly combed, he projects a clean-cut and welcoming image. You get the sense that he wants his companion to feel important, respected, loved. Yet he’s not so formal as to make one uncomfortable. Having taken every precaution to make others feel at ease with him, still, he sits alone. The waiter returns to fill the man’s coffee cup.



“Is there anything else I can get for you, sir?”



“No, thank you.” The waiter remains standing at the table. Something tugs at his curiosity.



“I don’t mean to pry, but…” His voice trails off. This line of conversation could jeopardize his tip, if not his job.



“Go ahead,” the man encourages. His voice is strong, yet sensitive, inviting conversation.



“Why do you bother waiting for her?” the waiter finally asks. This man has been at the restaurant other evenings, always alone, always patient.



“Because she needs me.”



“Are you sure?”



“Yes.”



“Well, sir, no offense sir, but assuming that she needs you, she sure isn’t acting much like it. She’s stood you up three times just this week!”



The man winces, and looks down. “Yes, I know.”



“Then why do you still come here and wait?”



“Cassie said she’d be here.”



“She’s said that before,” the waiter protests. “I wouldn’t put up with it. Why do you?”



Now the man looks up at the waiter with a smile. “Because I love her.”



The waiter walks away, wondering how one could love a girl who stands him up three times a week. The man must be crazy, he decides. From across the room he turns to look again at the man, who is pouring cream into his coffee cup. He twirls his spoon between his fingers a few times before stirring sweetener into his cup. After staring for a moment into the liquid, the man brings the cup to his mouth and sips, silently watching those around him. He doesn’t look crazy, the waiter admits. Maybe the girl has extraordinary qualities. Or maybe the man’s love is stronger than most. Pulling himself out of his musings, he moves to take an order from a party of five.



Setting down his coffee cup, the man recalls the many things he wanted to talk over with Cassie. But really he was mostly looking forward to hearing her voice telling him about her day—her triumphs, her defeats…anything. Yes, she’s stood him up before, but he still can’t get used to it. Each time, it hurts. He’s looked forward to this evening all day. He’s tried so many times to show Cassie how much he loves her. He’d just like to know that she cares for him, too. He sips sporadically at the coffee. He hopes Cassie may yet arrive.

The clock says nine-thirty when the waiter returns to the man’s table—still with one empty chair.



“Anything I can get for you?”



“No, I think that will be all for tonight. May I have the bill, please?”



“Yes, sir.” When the waiter leaves, the man picks up the check. He pulls out his wallet and signs. He has enough money to have given Cassie a feast. But he takes out only enough to pay for his five cups of coffee and the tip. Why do you do this, Cassie, his mind cries as he gets up from the table.



“Good-bye,” the waiter says, as the man walks towards the door.



“Good night. Thank you for your service.”



“You’re welcome, sir,” says the waiter softly, for he sees the hurt in the man’s eyes that his smile doesn’t hide. The man passes a laughing young couple on his way out, and his eyes glisten as he thinks of the good time he and Cassie could have had. He stops at the front and makes reservations for tomorrow. Maybe Cassie will be able to make it, he thinks.



“Seven o-clock tomorrow for a party of two?” the hostess confirms.



“That’s right,” the man replies.



“Do you think she’ll come?” asks the hostess inquires tentatively. She doesn’t mean to be rude, but she has watched the man many times alone at his table for two.



“Someday, yes. And I will be there waiting for her.” The man buttons his overcoat and walks out of the restaurant, alone. His shoulders are hunched, but through the windows the hostess can only guess whether they are hunched against the wind or against the man’s hurt.



About the time the man steers his car out of the restaurant’s parking lot, Cassie falls into her bed. Tired after an evening out with friends, she reaches toward her night stand to set the alarm.



“Oh, shoot,” she says aloud when she sees the note she had scribbled to herself the previous night. “Seven o’clock p.m….and what’d I write here?…oh, yeah, Spend some time in prayer. Well, I’ll do it tomorrow night for sure.”



Besides, she told herself, she needed tonight with her friends—and now she needs her sleep. Tomorrow night will be fine. Jesus will forgive her. She’s sure he doesn’t mind.



The most important part of daily devotions is showing up. It doesn’t matter what you say or do. Just take time every day to spend a little time with the One who loves you and waits patiently for you to come. He wants to tell you how much he loves you.

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Sunday Worship Feb 28th

Choosing Mary.

The following letter appears in a book by Dan Taylor called Letters to My Children (InterVarsity Press, 1989). Dan is writing to his son Matthew.

Dear Matthew,

When I was in the sixth grade (about 11). I was smart, athletic, witty, handsome, and incredibly nice. Things went downhill fast in junior high, but for this one year at least, I had everything.

Unfortunately, I also had Miss Owens for an assistant teacher. She helped Mr. Jenkins, our regular teacher. She knew that even though I was smart and incredibly nice, there was still a thing or two I could work on.

One of the things you were expected to do in grade school was learn to dance. My parents may have had some reservations at first, but since this was square dancing, it was okay.

Every time we went to work on our dancing, we did this terrible thing. The boys would all line up at the door of our classroom. Then, one at a time, each boy would pick a girl to be his partner. The girls all sat at their desks. As they were chosen, they left their desks and joined the snot-nosed kids who had honored them with their favor.

Believe me, the boys did not like doing this—at least I didn’t. But think about being one of those girls. Think about waiting to get picked. Think about seeing who was going to get picked before you. Think about worrying that you’d get picked by someone you couldn’t stand. Think about worrying whether you were going to get picked at all!

Think if you were Mary. Mary sat near the front of the classroom on the right side. She wasn’t pretty. She wasn’t real smart. She wasn’t witty. She was nice, but that wasn’t enough in those days. And Mary certainly wasn’t athletic. In fact, she’d had polio or something when she was younger; one of her arms was drawn up, and she had a bad leg, and to finish it off, she was kind of fat.

Here’s where Miss Owens comes in. Miss Owens took me aside one day and said, “Dan, next time we have square dancing, I want you to choose Mary.”

She may as well have told me to fly to Mars. It was an idea that was so new and inconceivable that I could barely hold it in my head. You mean pick someone other than the best, the most pretty, the most popular, when my turn came? That seemed like breaking a law of nature or something.

And then Miss Owens did a really rotten thing. She told me it was what a Christian should do. I knew immediately that I was doomed. I was doomed because I knew she was right. It was exactly the kind of thing Jesus would have done. I was surprised, in fact, that I hadn’t seen it on a Sunday school flannel board yet: “Jesus choosing the lame girl for the Yeshiva dance.” It was bound to be somewhere in the Bible.

I agonized. Choosing Mary would go against all the coolness I had accumulated.

The day came when we were to square dance again. If God really loved me, I thought, he will make me last. Then picking Mary will cause no stir. I will have done the right thing, and it won’t have cost me anything.

You can guess where I was instead. For whatever reason, Mr. Jenkins made me first in line. There I was, my heart pounding—now I knew how some of the girls must have felt.

The faces of the girls were turned toward me, some smiling. I looked at Mary and saw that she was half-turned to the back of the room, her face staring down at her desk. Mr. Jenkins said, “Okay, Dan—choose your partner.”

I remember feeling very far away. I heard my voice say, “I choose Mary.”

Never has reluctant virtue been so rewarded. I still see her face undimmed in my memory. She lifted her head, and on her face, reddened with pleasure and surprise and embarrassment all at the same time, was the most genuine look of delight and even pride that I have ever seen, before or since. It was so pure that I had to look away because I knew I didn’t deserve it.

Mary came and took my arm, as we had been instructed, and she walked beside me, bad leg and all, just like a princess.

Mary is my age now. I never saw her after that year. I don’t know what her life’s been like or what she’s doing. But I’d like to think she has a fond memory of at least one day in sixth grade. I know I do.

(Taken from Letters to My Children by Daniel Taylor. ©1989 by Daniel Taylor. InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515)

                The good news of the Gospel is that we have been chosen by God. You are someone special in the eyes of God. God looked out over all the world and for some crazy reason saw you and me and said, “I choose you ; I choose Paul; I choose “Insert your name here”.  The greatest day of your life was the day when God chose you. Yes, you have the opportunity to choose to accept Jesus as Saviour, And you can because he has chosen you first. Jesus said “You did not choose me, but I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last” (John 15:16).

Amen

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Sunday worship 21st Feb 2021

The Great Blondin

The great circus performer Charles Blondin stretched a tight rope across Niagara Falls. It was 1,100 ft long, 3¼ inches in diameter and 160 ft above the water, near the location of the current Rainbow Bridge.

                He first did this on 30 June 1859, often with different theatrical variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down halfway while he cooked and ate an omelette, or standing on a chair with only one of its legs balanced on the rope.

                Once whilst taking a wheelbarrow full of bricks effortlessly across the cable, from one side of the falls to the other. Blondin turned to the crowd and asked,

                “Now, how many of you believe that I could push a man across the wire in the wheelbarrow?”

                The vote was unanimous. Everyone cheered and held their hands high. They all believed he could do it!

                “Then,” asked Blondin, “would one of you please volunteer to be that man?”

                As quickly as the hands went up, they went back down. Not a single person would volunteer to ride in the wheelbarrow and to trust his life to Blondin.

                Many people say to Jesus, “Yes, I believe!”

                If you are among those who say that, are you willing to demonstrate your belief by trusting your life to him?

                Are you willing to get in the wheelbarrow and to risk everything on your faith? That’s what it means to believe.

                Faith is not just an intellectual exercise. It involves total commitment.

Amen.

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Worship Sunday 14th Feb 2021

Today is Valentines day when traditionally secret love is declared by sending an anonymous card or flowers a day for Love to be shared, and next Tuesday is shrove Tuesday or pancake day marking the start of Lent, When we give something up to remind us of Jesus’s time in the wilderness, so I thought it would be good to do a combined message for the two and announce ,

“I’d Love a Pancake”

Which reminds me of a story I heard about pancake day.

Two brothers, Kevin and Ryan were excited about pancake day they loved pancakes and so when the day arrived and Dad was in the kitchen about to make pancakes an argument arose, because each brother wanted the first pancake. I’m the oldest said Kevin I should get the first pancake.

But I was here first said Ryan so I should get the first pancake,

Dad seeing a great opportunity for a good moral life lesson turned off the gas, turned to the boys and said “Now listen boys if Jesus was here he wouldn’t say give me the first pancake would he, He’d say Let my brother have the first pancake and I’ll have the second one.”

Kevin thought about this for a few moments and then he says, Ryan you be Jesus.

A story attempting to teach about putting others first,

Which also reminds me of a song from my youth

J. O. Y. J. O. Y. surely that must mean, Jesus First, Yourself last, and others in-between (to the tune of jingle bells)

So if we give nothing else up for Lent, lets give up being selfish, and share love were ever we go

Amen

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Sunday worship 31st Jan 2021

John 2; 1-12

Weddings are just not happening at the moment, and when they were they were restricted to 15 or thirty people, but we know that hasn’t always been the case and will return to normal.

Weddings in Jesus’s day lasted for days and included just about everyone family friends and just about the whole village.

When we do go to a wedding we usually put on our best gear, generally behave ourselves, eat and drink too much and don’t concern ourselves with any of the organisation or running of it, because its all taken care of.

Now have you ever noticed that mums have an in built detector, a nose you might say, for when things aren’t going smoothly, Mary Jesus’s mum was no exception she spotted that there was a wine problem, we don’t know how she knew, she just did. Running out of wine at the height of the wedding celebrations would not have been good for the newlyweds or there families, it would have looked bad.

So, Mary got Jesus to sort it.

He reluctantly got the servers to fill 6 water jars with water each containing about 100L or 22 Gallons that’s a total of 132 gallons of water, then take a taster over to the master of ceramonies and when he tasted it , it wasn’t just any old wine it was the best wine, and was the equivalent to about 800 bottles.

Only the servers the “below stairs”  staff were aware of what had happened non of the main wedding party would have been any the wiser.

It was almost done in secret, secret wine secret miracle, Mary knew the disciples knew , the servant knew, but know one said anything, it slipped under the radar unnoticed. That miracle that best wine, passed everyone by

The thing with secrets is its impossible to keep them to your self, I’ll tell you this secret as long as you don’t tell any one. And soon every one knows

The secret Of Jesus, His Power, His love  His sacrifice.

Tell some one this secret, And tell them, to tell everyone.

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Worship Sunday 20th December

Here are the links for worship this week. There is also a link for Christmas Eve for a Carol Service at 6pm at Langley Mill

On Christmas Eve I will send out links for the virtual Christmas Day Services.

There will be a Christmas Day Service at Ripley Methodist Church at 10.30am on Christmas Day, led by Paul Rose.  Full details related to social distancing can be found on the newsletter sent round by Scott this weekend.

The Ripley Worship channel with all previous weeks videos on, as well as this weeks:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXjjQ483ocbZn2g0RcQvAYQ/

Advent Week 4:
        LOVE - Housing and Homeless Supports

The Methodist Church

http://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

The 4th
        Sunday of Advent Love | Third sunday of advent, Blue candle
        magic, Christian christmas

Trinity Church Cheltenham 10am:

Advent: Light the Candle of Love - Pastor Robert's sermon
        for Sunday, December 23 - First United Methodist Church

St Andrews at Langley Mill 10.30am and also a Carol Service at 6pm on Christmas Eve

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2589129048

Advent Candles – Sermons That Were Never Heard

Kate’s Worship can be found on the following Facebook page at 10.30:

@strangetimes2020

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