Worship at Home
Worship for 31st January 2021
To listen to the sermon and a hymn dial
Sunday 31st January 10:30 AM
(or whenever you wish)
This week’s message has been prepared by Rev Phil Snelson.
This short act of worship is for use from home. Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.
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Loving God, we have come to worship you.
Help us to remember that you are here with us.
Help us to worship you
with all our heart and mind and strength;
May we pray to you in faith,
proclaim your praise with gratitude,
and listen to your word with eagerness;
For you alone are eternal God
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.
StF 161: ‘Speak O Lord’
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.
Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail;
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
As the earth is filled with Your glory.
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
A Prayer of Confession
God of mercy,
Your love for us is strong,
But our love for you is weak…
You call us to follow Jesus,
But we are slow to obey…
You care for all you have made,
But we ignore the needs of others
And misuse your creation…
And help us to live your way
in all we do and think and say
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Whole Armor of God
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Jesus Casts Out an Evil Spirit
21 Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.
Having called his disciples to follow, this week Jesus begins his ministry, and what a challenging start! An encounter with a man oppressed by an evil spirit. What Mark particularly emphasises is Jesus’ authority, both in his teaching and in action in this encounter. Like the congregation in the synagogue, there are all sorts of questions for us too. We are being challenged to decide for ourselves, “Who is this?”, “What is this about?”
Our reading begins and ends with the authority of Jesus, particularly compared to the lack of it in the teachers of the law. Even though Jesus must have been teaching the ways of God, people think it ‘new teaching’.
I don’t know about you, but I really wonder whether we as the Christian Church have partly lost our voice in society because of our lack of godly authority. Not oppressive, dominant self-serving authority, but the gracious spiritual wisdom, justice, and care for the people that Jesus brings and calls us to bring in his name.
The specific incident Mark records is Jesus’ confrontation with evil. If we were confronted by the same situation that Jesus was, would we know what to do? Secular science and medicine struggles most in the area of the spiritual – sometimes dismisses it outright. Of course, strange, even wild behaviour can be brought on by physical or psychological illness and needs to be treated as such. But it seems to me that, because of who he was, Jesus knew more about life and spiritual things than anyone before or since. Therefore, he knew the difference between illness and spiritual affliction. He didn’t say “actually this is an illness that needs healing” he spoke to the evil spirit with authority, made it be quiet and leave its victim. I have encountered the enemy on a number of occasions, never as dramatically as described here, but enough to be sure that this side of life is real and part of ministering in Jesus’ name. There is so much for us to learn!
In Ephesians 6, Paul explains that there is more to this world than there appears, including the ‘heavenly places’ (spirit realm). It seems to me Paul is saying that the key to moving forward in God’s kingdom is often dealing with the spiritual first, and in spiritual authority. That’s why prayer is so vital to everything we do and say as we seek new vision and direction, to play our part in growing the Kingdom.
Often the enemy will play on our fears and insecurities in order to discourage us doing something God is calling to – who hasn’t experienced that?! I know I have! Does it feel like there’s quite a lot of it going on at the moment??! We need to recognise the voice of the liar and remind ourselves of the truth – Jesus lives in us and brings his authority in us and through us and is always with us. It’s amazing what a difference it can make in such times to pray his name quietly a few times – “Jesus, Jesus…”.
The reason Jesus’ authority was recognised in large part was because he backed it up with actions to show that he knew what he was talking about and lived it out showing that it worked. This same Jesus lives in us and brings his authority in us and through us.
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore…
Prayers of intercession:-
Take time to dwell and pray into each of these:
Let us pray:
For those whom we will meet today…
For the places God will take us today…
Let us pray:
For those in need of love today …
For those in need of hope today …
Let us pray:
For peace in our world…
For situations in specific countries…
Let us pray:
For our church and for the Circuit…
For our own communities…
For ourselves …
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.
StF 414 – The Church of Christ in every age
The Church of Christ in every age
Beset by change but Spirit led,
Must claim and test its heritage
And keep on rising from the dead.
Across the world, across the street,
The victims of injustice cry
For shelter and for bread to eat,
And never live until they die.
Then let the servant Church arise,
A caring Church that longs to be
A partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
And clothed in Christ’s humanity.
For he alone, whose blood was shed,
Can cure the fever in our blood,
And teach us how to share our bread
And feed the starving multitude.
We have no mission but to serve
In full obedience to our Lord:
To care for all, without reserve,
And to spread his liberating Word.
Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)
God of all goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves a fresh to you.
We ask that you fill us with your Holy Spirit;
renew in us the desire, and give us the power,
to do what pleases you that our whole life may be used in your service and bring you glory and praise; through Christ our Lord.
Warmest congratulations from the whole circuit to Rev Francis and Faith M’Itiiri on the birth of their healthy baby daughter Makena.
(Visit our home page to see a lovely picture of Makena)
Service prepared by Rev Phil Snelson
Methodist Minister, Northampton
Webpage: Paul Deakin