Catherine and Louise’s talks 10 March

Talk 1

In the Epistle to the Romans  chapter 10 verses 8-13 it is written 

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,  and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation

For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed

For there is no reason between the Jew and  the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call on him

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

Prayer is a key way to develop a love relationship with God.

The gift of prayer is that we learn to receive, experience and return his love

Prayer is one place where god can get to us,  speak to us and minister to us.

Seldom do we get closer to god than in prayer

Christianity is a relationship

We have to remember that Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross to make it possible for us to approach god to worship and pray we must remember to thank god as he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life

The heart of what prayer is not just about asking for things it is also about seeking God’s face, listening to him, spending time in his presence and enjoying communication with him and getting to know him better. He welcomes everyone there is no distinction all you need is your faith in god and he promises you grace, honour and blessing

Whether you are walking (that’s when I do a lot of praying I always think about the hymn How Great thou art – oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hand hath made) I feel really close to God and feel at peace. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing anyone can pray. I am sure everyone at times if they are  faced with a difficult situations they have a silent prayer. Oh God help me or Why me god and your faith is tested because you cannot believe that god has allowed this to happen to you but sometimes he takes us on a longer and more difficult path to prepare us for the battles ahead – learn to rely on Gods strength and guidance.

 sometimes your plea is answered but sometimes not but whatever the outcome is he is with you, you are never alone, never be afraid – believe,  because you are loved by God

The strength of our faith  not the length of our prayer is all we need  as he knows what our needs are even before we ask.. At other times you may not be sure in whatever situation you can add YOUR WILL BE DONE

Jesus said ask and it will be given to you the starting power of an answered prayer is asking

When we ask god for something as he listens to all our prayers  the response will be YES NO OR WAIT

Forgiveness can be a barrier to prayer also praying with wrong motives

If you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your father in heaven may forgive your sins. 

If we pray to gain glory and power or perhaps win the lottery then they are not good in themselves or not good for us or others. Then the answer would be no

Sometimes Satan without us realising is tempting us but Jesus prays to God on our behalf and helps us to walk wisely and play a part in gods call. That is why we sometimes have to wait before our prayer is answered.

Prayer is not just about asking god to forgive our sins we must also thank god for the wonderful things we have in our life and the wonder of all that he created and no matter who you are respond to what Jesus did for you.

Jesus taught the disciples the Lords Prayer to teach them to pray and I would like us all to join together in the Lords Prayer

Our father which art in heaven…..

Talk 2 

In Deuteronomy 26 the Israelites are being encouraged to remember how the Lord protected them and brought them out of bondage in Egypt into the promised land where harvests were plentiful. When they bring the firstfruits to the priests as an offering to God they are to remember their history. Remember how God saved them as a family by bringing them under Joseph’s protection in Egypt. Remember when they had grown to such numbers that Pharoah saw them as an immigrant threat.  Remember that Pharoah had made them slaves. Remember how Moses led them out of Egypt and eventually into the promised land. How good it must have felt with that history to be bringing your firstfruits to the priest as an offering to God. The God who had multiplied their blessings.

In Psalm 91 we learn that if we give ourselves to God he will protect us. The psalmist is encouraging the Israelites to trust in God. If only they will trust in him He will look after them as a nation, delivering them from deadly pestilence, what a peculiar expression. Delivering them from fear, from war, from wild animals, from poisonous snakes. He will shelter them under his wings.

Shelter them under his wings, What a comfortable place to be – it sounds to me like hiding from the world, wrapped in a duvet on your sofa. But as we all know that is ok for a day but not for a lifetime.

It is good for us to look back on our history as a church, as individuals and remember how God has multiplied our blessings. And that doesn’t mean we brush under the carpet any hurts and disappointments, illness and deaths that have been part of our story. Often it’s the difficult times that help us to grow.

Catherine has talked about knowing God, being in the presence of God, talking with God.

When you have put your whole life into God’s hands and trust him, then as well as happy blessings and good times, like the psalmist you can know that God is with you in times of trouble. 

Looking back at our church history, we see fewer and fewer people attending church services. But what else do we see, we see faithful members loving and serving their community, sharing God’s love with their friends and neighbours. Helping the poor, visiting the sick. Multiplying God’s blessings in and around us. 

We’ve been asking two questions at messy church, to a different team member each month. When did you first become aware of God? And what does God mean to you? 

If you look back at your own history, you can be encouraged by asking similar questions. When did you become a Christian, give your heart to the Lord, get saved, or whichever way you describe your coming to faith in God. Each story is unique and exciting. 

Each story contains multiplied blessings and some hard times. We should share our stories over coffee more often and encourage each other with the ways God has blessed us and carried us through the hard times.

And if you haven’t yet taken that step of putting your whole self into God’s hands and letting him direct your path of life, I’d encourage you to think about it. There’s no safer place to be than in the centre of God’s will.

As Jesus talking to Martha is quoted in Johns gospel ch11 v 25:

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Amen


Lay Worship Leaders

Louise, Catherine and Catherine with their certificates.
Newly qualified Lay Worship Leaders, Catherine MacLennan, Catherine Paterson and Louise Logue led today’s worship in Tayvallich Church. Catherine M and Louise each did a prayer and a short talk. Catherine P said a prayer and chose the hymns as well as being our regular organist. They were well received by the congregation and hope to take another service in the near future.

Kirk session agenda 10 March

Opening Prayer and Worship
Appointment of Chair for the meeting in the absence of the Interim Moderator
Sederunt
Apologies
Minutes of meetings of the 5th December 2018 and 27th January 2019 – carry forward to next meeting
Matters arising from 5th December
Development of Tayvallich Church. Carry forward to next meeting
Session Administration
Date for Annual Stated Meeting
Worship and Mission:
Easter services
Messy Church
Alpha
Local Worship Leader Training – carry forward to next meeting
Reports:
Interim Moderator – to note change of Interim Moderator
Stewardship – Carry forward to next meeting
Safeguarding – carry forward to next meeting
Notifiable events – carry forward to next meeting
Treasurer and Finance Committee – approval and adoption of annual accounts and report.
Fabric Report – carry forward to next meeting
Correspondence:
Inverlussa Church Building
Local Church Review:
Review of Action Plan – carry forward to next meeting
Date of next meeting
Close with Prayer

Sermon 24 February

When I was first at Kilmartin I mentioned that it was just after the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th – 25th Jan.), that is ‘unity’ rather than ‘uniformity’, and after recent events, I can’t help but reflect that others within these islands would have benefited from taking note of that week! For we seem to live at a time of dis-unity, wherever we look: left; right and centre, as it were.
So it is with some relief that I come here today, having reflected on the excitement and joy that shouts out from the passage in Genesis, when Joseph recognises his brothers (or half-brothers) but they don’t recognise him. This despite the treatment they gave him, which resulted in him ending up in Egypt. How would I react I wondered, especially as the last time I saw my twin brother via Skype (he’s in Singapore – no I didn’t sell him) it appeared that he had a halo around his head! The wonders of modern technology! I digress.
To return to matters much more significant, Joseph knew what it was to have faith in God and the peace (rather than resentment), that forgiveness brings. What followed shows the triumph of grace over judgment. Words of forgiveness and reconciliation come from Joseph’s lips. He calls them closer and adds to his opening words the word “brother”. He re-establishes the bond their betrayal had broken. Joseph’s story shows his profound understanding of God’s providence and how God used their wickedness for good. Although twice he says, “You sold me,” (v. 4, 5) three times he says, “God sent me ahead of you” (v. 5, 7, 8). Joseph doesn’t ignore their actions, he seeks to make sense of them, ascribing ultimate responsibility for the outcome to God, such is his faithfulness!
Their abandoned brother had become governor and he would ensure many, who otherwise would have died, would survive the famine. He has been sent “to save lives” (v. 5, 7). Instead of rejecting or punishing them he extends a hand to them and tells to bring his father down to Egypt to see out the famine years. Greeting Benjamin first, he embraced all his family and tears fell freely. Such is the wonder of forgiveness, of mercy and of grace. Healing and restoration comes, after all these years. The alternative? Thoughts of bitterness, greed and suffering come to mind.
The readings for last Sunday introduce those for today and when I was preaching with reference to the passage from Luke’s Gospel (6:17–26) I noted that it is no accident that part of the passage, termed the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ because of it’s similarity to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ contained in the Gospel of Matthew, is followed by a passage headed ‘Love for Enemies’ (N.I.V.). Luke tells us earlier in the chapter that this was after a night of prayer.

Jesus is challenging those present to see themselves as God/He sees them and/or will see them when the time for judgement comes. Challenging them (and us), as the prophets did, to repent and put love/desire for those things that are material to our lives well behind a faith that brings hope through love. The blessings he refers to are not particularly difficult to appreciate but given the context of the time (under Roman occupation etc.) they were very challenging and necessitated a change in action/lifestyle for all who heard them. They are still challenging to all cultures, however described. Easy to say but difficult to do!
The call to love God, to love our neighbour and to love one another is added to with one final call, to love our enemies. To love those who are different from us, to love those who disagree with us, to love those who are difficult and demanding and delight to do us down is asking too much, surely! The Greek word written down is ‘agapan’ (Prof. Wm. Barclay) which he translates as an ‘active feeling of benevolence towards other people’. We are instructed to do good to our enemies and to be merciful to them. These are wilful; positive acts, not negative such as withholding punishment. The teaching is positive towards our fellow human; doing that little bit extra brings greater reward, long-term.
The very fact that we have those we might regard and describe as “enemies”, serves to illustrate how difficult an ask this is. I tend to think of ‘agapan’ as attempting to cure the cause that produces “enemies” rather than repairing the hatred that results from having such “enemies”.
Jesus is very practical and pragmatic in the examples he uses by way of application. Whatever we feel, our actions should do good to all. As the former Anglican Priest, the Rev. John Stott said: “Love is not a victim of our emotions but a servant of our will”. Our attitude should be one of blessing not cursing, of prayer not provocation. Instead of retaliation, vulnerability; where exploited be generous in response; let loans become gifts and follow the Golden Rule. This countercultural way of grace marks the Christian community out from others. Jesus makes the point by showing how the default position of the world is self- interest. We love because we are loved. We do good to those who return the favour. We lend where repayment is guaranteed. But go to a different gear, operate on a different level and you will show the world the Christian family to which you belong.
Think back to Joseph and how you might feel if you suffered a similar experience. Not exactly a friendly act when you’re sold like a commodity by your siblings. You might harbour a grudge; ponder how to achieve some form of revenge – physically and/or materially, all fairly negative emotions, but look at the joy and peace brought to all through the positive Faith Joseph has.

One of the great things about being a Reader for our church is that you get to meet lots of people who have that faith and although you might not be meeting anyone who’s done you harm, you do meet people whose paths you might have crossed many years ago. That gives me at least some small insight into Joseph’s excitement and pleasure at seeing his brothers after so many years.
By way of example, I asked myself (and my wife) who my “enemies” were or had been but (we) couldn’t come up with any. The closest I could get was some years ago when I found the going so tough in gainful employment and with some of those I worked with, that I gave up my work, literally knocked my house down and started life in a different direction, that took faith!
As I’ve already said it’s easy to say “love your enemies” but much more difficult to do. An enemy after all presents hostility in some form such as: physical violence; emotional bullying; perhaps even makes you suffer in financial terms or just refuses to alter their point of view to one that you find more favourable. Ultimately when you find difference of such a scale that you regard someone as your “enemy”, then it can’t be a surprise that the “enemy” regards you in the same way. It may be argued that showing love for your “enemies” is a weakness and allows your “enemy” to triumph but that approach to life is very negative in nature and demonstrates no Faith in the love of God.
As the Psalmist says, at the end of Psalm 37:
‘The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord: he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.’ (N.I.V.)
Douglas McHugh