Sunday 12th September

Opening Reflection

A very warm welcome to our service today as we continue to explore Romans our new study series and today will be looking at Romans 3.  We pray that as you come to spend time today that you will surrender yourself to God, you will give thanks in our prayers and our praise, no matter what situation we are facing, for the Lord is always near.

Let us open with 

Psalm 148
148 Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Let the skies be filled with praise
    and the highest heavens with the shouts of glory!
Go ahead—praise him, all you his messengers!
    Praise him some more, all you heavenly hosts!
Keep it up, sun and moon!
    Don’t stop now, all you twinkling stars of light!
Take it up even higher—up to the highest heavens,
    until the cosmic chorus thunders his praise!
Let the entire universe erupt with praise to God.
    He spoke and created it all—from nothing to something.

Let us pray:
Heavenly Father we come before you to sing our praises to you and to say thank you. Lord, help us to clear our minds, and draw close to you, help us to be honest in our prayers, and submit ourselves to you. Lord, may we stop and listen to your still small voice, Holy Spirit refresh my soul this morning and fill me to overflowing,   Lord hear our prayers, our worship and may all I do this new day bring glory to you, this I pray in Jesus almighty Name Amen.

Hymn:

Prayers of Intercession:

Let us pray

Almighty God, we thank you for the gift of being able to speak to you directly through prayer. We gather before you today to express our concerns for the Church and the world, and to thank you for your compassion and all that you provide for us.

Lord we think and pray for all Christians throughout the world, particularly those who are persecuted because of their faith. Lord we pray your protection be upon them and that you give them strength and guidance as they draw near to you.

Lord, we pray, particularly those countries that are torn apart by conflict, illness and hunger.  We continue to pray for the people of Afghanistan as they begin to rebuild their lives following recent events.  We ask for your protection and support for all refugees who have had to move to new countries.  We pray for the leaders of all nations that they would strive for justice and peace for all people.

We pray for the church family here in Far Bletchley. May all your people be built up in faith and demonstrate in our lives the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ. Give courage to those who find it hard to follow you. Give us encouragement, fill us with your Word and transform us as we journey with you.

Loving God, we pray for our local community.  Please show us how we can best serve people who are struggling in any way.  We pray for organisations that are starting to meet for the first time since the Covid pandemic began.

We pray for children, teachers, assistances, all those in the education sector as they begin the new school year and we particularly uphold our youth especially those who are preparing to go to university. Lord we ask for your protection on their lives, give them strength and wisdom. 

In a moment of silence, please pray for any aspect of life in our local community. that is on your mind today.

Loving God, we pray for all those who are afflicted by physical, emotional or mental illness.  Help them to keep their eyes fixed on you, and give them the courage to face the trials and temptations that may come. 

In a moment of silence, please pray for one person who is on your mind today.

Loving God we pray for those kept fresh in our memory and for those long forgotten; for all who shared our homes, our places of work and our church life; for all who helped to shape our lives.  We pray too for the recently departed, asking that they all find rest in your Heavenly Kingdom as we commend them to eternal life with you.

By your grace Lord we pray as we start this new week, that we will continue to draw closer to you, for you are an awesome God and may our faith be strengthened by you in all we do. This we pray in Jesus Name Amen

Hymn:

Prayers of Confession

Let us pray:

Lord we come before you and we offer up our prayers of confession and forgiveness.  Lord hear our prayers.

Lord God, you have shown us such love, and stretched out your arms to draw us into your embrace. Yet we so often fail to show that love within our lives, or recognise its source. Forgive our short-sightedness, for the times we've failed to see your love in the generosity of friend or stranger, the shoulder to cry on, willing ear to listen, a word of encouragement, holding our hand that extra mile. Forgive us for failing to notice how much you care for us.

Let us spend a few minutes as we offer up our own prayers of confession, seeking God's forgiveness pause:

Lord thank you for the prayer you taught us and as we share now.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory
Are yours, now and forever. 
Amen

Hymn

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Offering

Whilst we appreciate this is a challenging time, we are grateful and give our thanks to God for all His provision, for your word says:  16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

We are thankful Lord that you have blessed us with a church building, although whilst we are unable to meet there in person at the moment we know that we still have expenditure that we have to meet. 

Lord place on our hearts what we are able to give, ensuring we do not give beyond our means. 

Ways to Give - Please click on this link to see our Ways to Give.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Lord as we come to offer our prayers may we just stop and pause, and in the silence lift up our prayers of praise to you.  Pause.

Deborah Ann thanksgiving poem:

Lord, may my heart be,eternally thankful . . .
may it always to You be forever grateful.
May it sing it’s praises, for all that You do
may it show it’s thank for to You it’s always due.
Lord, may my song swell, with my gratefulness
may it resonate loudly of Your faithfulness.
May its lyric’s convey, my complete devotion
may its melody express my gratitude unbroken.
Lord, may my heart be, filled with thanksgiving
may my praise to You . . .always be transmitting!

Lord thank you for your Word and for all you do in our lives.  This we pray in Jesus Name Amen

Hymn:

Reading: Romans 3:1-20

3 1-2 So what difference does it make who’s a Jew and who isn’t, who has been trained in God’s ways and who hasn’t? As it turns out, it makes a lot of difference—but not the difference so many have assumed.

2-6 First, there’s the matter of being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, these Holy Scriptures. So, what if, in the course of doing that, some of those Jews abandoned their post? God didn’t abandon them. Do you think their faithlessness cancels out his faithfulness? Not on your life! Depend on it: God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same:

Your words stand fast and true;
Rejection doesn’t faze you.

But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God’s right-doing, shouldn’t we be commended for helping out? Since our lies don’t even make a dent in his truth, isn’t it wrong of God to back us to the wall and hold us to our word? These questions come up. The answer to such questions is no, a most emphatic No! How else would things ever get straightened out if God didn’t do the straightening?

7-8 It’s simply perverse to say, “If my lies serve to show off God’s truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I’m doing God a favour.” Some people are actually trying to put such words in our mouths, claiming that we go around saying, “The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let’s just do it!” That’s pure slander, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat
9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:

There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honour of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day.

This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place!

And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.

Sermon

Hymn:

Closing Reflection

We give thanks to Pete Downing for sharing God's Word for us today.

We are so thankful for all those who continue to pray and support us during our time of interregnum. for it is our faith, our unity, or diversity which makes church.  What a wonderful blessing. 

We give thanks to God for our families, our fellowship, our neighbours, our work colleagues.  God people, the living body of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God calls us into a deeper communion with Him.  We are here to encourage, to serve our communities, seeking God's face, His wisdom as we walk together.  Not our own wants but aligning our hearts desire to that of God. 

 

The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the son and Holy Spirit
Be among you and remain with you always Amen   
                     Numbers 6:24-25

Closing Hymn:

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