Sermon and prayer 19 November

Talk 1 – The Fishermen
Luke Chapter 5 vs 1 – 11
“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

This morning we are looking at Discipleship.
Jesus parting words to His disciples was;
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of The Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you – and I am with you.”
Make disciples, baptize – help people to submit their lives to God – teach them what Jesus taught – and remember He is with us.
Disciple can be likened to an apprenticeship – learning through listening, through watching, by following example, by trying things out, by being stretched and challenged to do more – and also by being supported and nurtured – in a relationship of trust.
Has anyone been through an apprenticeship, or learnt a job by working alongside someone?
We are going to look at a few of the ways Jesus taught and developed his disciples to think about how we can be disciples and how we can disciple others.
So we have heard this story of Jesus and the fishermen.
We did this at Messy Church on Thursday – who was there? What did we do?
Well, we have fishermen working all night and catching nothing.
An exhausting and depressing night for them. They come ashore and find that Jesus has filled the place with a crowd and he wants their boat to address the crowds from – so no rest for them yet – Jesus asks them for a bit more effort – take your boat out for me to stand in. So they do and they listen to Him. Then when he has finished speaking, instead of saying thanks, go and have a rest now – he says OK lets go fishing again – no rest yet – more challenge – a bit more effort. – then the miracle – a great catch, a supernatural catch – who is this man Jesus? He is extraordinary, He is something else!
So much, different, so challenging, so amazing, that when he says – follow me, they go with Him immediately.
How do we disciple others:
Meet people where they are – fishing
Stretch and challenge – give me your boat – go out again
Let Jesus demonstrate, display, reveal who He is
Call to follow Him.

Talk 2 – The tax collector
Luke Chapter 5 vs 27 – 32
“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.””

I love this story about Levi – he was later known as Matthew. There he is, sitting in his office, no doubt heard a bit about this new preacher, Jesus, and here he is – speaking to him, – specially seeking him out – choosing him to speak to. This must have been a great experience for Levi – a social outcast, a collaborator with the hated Roman occupiers, a social pariah, a despised tax collector – and the preacher intentionally picks him out to say – “Follow me”
Jesus intentionally goes to him, extends to him welcome and acceptance, gives him dignity and respect while others would reject him, pass by, not want to be seen with him. Jesus calls him out to disciple him, so amazing, so loving, so caring, so simple.
And then Jesus does an even more amazing and wonderful thing – He accepts Levi’s invitation to dinner. He goes to meet his friends to extend to them the same acceptance and love. –
Levi says to him – come and meet my friends – my tax collector and sinning friends, my friends who are also rejected and despised by society – come and meet them – and let them meet you, my friend, my new life.
As we seek to follow Jesus he wants us to invite him back to meet our friends, to come into our homes, our lives, so he can meet and talk with the people we know.
As we try to disciple other people – to introduce them to Jesus, to share our lives as followers of Christ, we should likewise accept their invitations into their lives, to meet friends, to share with them that they too might want to know more about this person, Jesus.

Talk 3 – “You feed them!”
Mark Chapter 6 vs 7 – 13 and 30 – 37
“Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
But he answered, “You give them something to eat.””

So – this reading covers two linked events on different aspects of discipleship.
First:
– Jesus, having had his disciples with him for some time, they have listened to his teaching, seen him pray, heal, cast out demons, preach, he sends them in twos, without him to get on with it themselves – and they have a great time and come back full of their exploits – healing and teaching and releasing people from unclean spirits – how excited they must have been.
Do you remember what it was like when you passed your driving test and you got out on your own – great feeling of freedom, of being trusted, of excitement mixed with uncertainty and challenge – can i cope, Can I do this – YES I CAN.
So the disciples are full of themselves, trying new things, seeing God working, prayers answered.
Then – second:
Jesus says to them, well done, come and have a quiet rest after all that. – but that gets interrupted – more crowds, more people wanting to hear Jesus – no rest for them. Crowds and teaching all day.
The disciples look around, they are in the middle of nowhere, it is getting late and everyone is getting hungry – surely now they will all go home and give us a rest. We need to get control of this – Jesus has forgotten about food, and time – let’s break this up and send them away.
But Jesus turns to them, looks at them and says – “You feed them” – “You feed them!”
They had been telling Jesus about all the wonderful things they had seen and done – preaching and healing and casting out demons – on their own – well done them!
OK – now – “You feed them” – a challenge.
Jesus wants his disciples to grow – he wants us to grow.
OK you have seen people healed – now go further, take more risk, trust me more! You feed them!
How often do we trust God for the small things and yet can’t trust him for the big things, the difficult situations, the serious crises. We accept small answers to prayer but baulk at asking for big events, big changes, we can take the plausible, but refuse to jump to the impossible.
Jesus said of the rich ruler – with men it is impossible – but with God all things are possible.
As disciples we are always being encouraged to go further, to pick up Jesus next challenge, to relish the extraordinary, and to pray for the impossible.
And as we live this life we must share this encouragement, this challenge, our extraordinary experiences, with those we each reach out to disciple ourselves.
Amen

Prayer of thanksgiving and intercession:

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us. Thank you for listening to us. Thank you that we can pray to you, most awesome God, because you are our Father and you care for us. We thank you for the death of Jesus which accomplished so much for us, setting us free from our selfish nature. Thank you for Jesus beating the power of death and coming back to life. And now we can know that life too when we give ourselves to him.

Jesus spoke to a couple of fishermen and a tax collector and a few others. He said “follow me”. And they just got up and followed him wherever he led them. Help us Lord to hear your call to follow you. Help us to accept the challenges you set before us: feed the hungry, cloth the naked, heal the sick, make disciples of all nations. If we really took this seriously we could change the world. Forgive us for being half hearted and please inspire us by your Holy Spirit to obey your commands and partner with you to bring real change in our community, our country and our world.

We pray for countries like Malawi, who are trying to develop fair and just government, and for Zimbabwe for a just outcome to the turmoil in their leadership. We pray for countries at war in the Middle East. Bring their leaders to a common understanding. Help us all to understand that we should be at one with our fellow human beings because you created us all in your image, made to be like you

We pray for our government and our queen. May they be guided by you to do right. We believe that you are in control, Father, and pray that the government will govern wisely. We pray especially for your guidance for the ministers dealing with the brexit negotiations. We pray for our armed forces and our emergency services and we thank you for the work they do.
We thank you for the NHS and especially our local hospitals and all the health and social care workers who look after our communities.

We pray for our own church in North Knapdale. We have so many things to thank you for: for bringing new friends to worship with us, for the sound of children once again in our midst, for your continuing presence with us as we reach out to our local community in Cafe Connect and Messy Church.

We pray for the guests who come to chat and eat cake at the cafe and those who come to play and join in the fun at Messy church. Help us to love them with your love so + they come to understand the wonder of your salvation and turn to you. We are so blessed by the Alpha series, running in Achnamara. It is so exciting to see the way you are working here. We pray for your continued blessing on the guests and the leaders as they get to know you and each other better.

We pray for our minister Cliff and his family. We pray that you will lead them and guide them in their future with you.

We pray for your blessing on our families and neighbours and we name them in our hearts……

We pray for those who are sick and need your healing….

We pray for those who have lost their way and need to be reconciled to you…..

We thank you for those who are joyful. May they spread their happiness around….

Amen

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