Stephen welcomed Ace Kim and the other members of the OneHeart congregation who had come to take the service.
Ace then spoke to us of his journey from the time he was at Epping West UC and his vision that led him to his ordination and his leadership of the OneHeart congregation which is meeting at Eastwood UC at the moment. He told of seeing our lovely church and feeling the presence of God around it and how he was glad to be finally worshipping with us.
He spoke of the service that was to follow being different and probably louder than we are used to but hoped that we would be able to glorify God through it. He added that the beauty of God is everywhere, that we are all the children of God and thanked the young people for their passion in expressing their love of God.
Hymn "Amazing Grace" sung a little differently; differently enough to make the meaning leap out anew. Are we still amazed? Are we even still thankful?
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Grace led us in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, our mighty Lord, who offers love and forgiveness to all and who is clear for all to see in his amazing creation. On our behalf she gave thanks that Jesus, the Son, had come to save us and was present with us. She asked for God's forgiveness for the guilt which we confessed for our constant foolishness and gave thanks that we can approach boldly, confident that we will be renewed and refreshed. Grace asked that we should be challenged in our mission to serve in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Ace declared: your sins are forgiven
Offering In a reference to his children, Ace reminded us that we come into this world with nothing and everything we have is a gift from God. After our offering was gathered by our "very young people" Ace offered it back to God for his work out of the abundance of his great blessing.
Hymn "Lord I lift up your name on high, Lord I love to sing your praises.
I'm so glad you're in my life, I'm so glad you came to save us."
When we sing hymns, are we motivated as the author of this hymn was, or are we motivated in some other way or do we just sing?.sometimes it's just good to rethink our position.
This was followed by a video clip of the work of the OneHeart ministry showing the diversity of nationalities and age groups who worship together and their various activities including work in the community.
Heng then gave his Testimony of being quite opposed to Christianity and also of being tongue-tied in company. Then he became very attached to a young lady who unfortunately did not want to continue their friendship. Heng became very depressed and cried and cried. His mother, who was a Christian, handed him a bible and told him to open it anywhere and read. He read the story of the man born blind and the questions Jesus was asked about whose fault it was. Jesus' answer was that it was not the fault of anyone but that God should be glorified. He saw the parallel with his own situation and so started his Christian journey. Then he became involved in OneHeart and in no time he was able to speak freely in social situations and now is able to work for the OneHeart group, a changed man.
Bible Reading Val brought the reading to us: Psalm 23: We all know it well. Often we hear it at funerals but it has more to say than our relationship with God at our dying. It speaks of our lifelong walk with him and the many blessing he heaps upon us during that journey.
Ace spoke to us, confessing his ignorance of the role of a shepherd until well into adulthood. He knew God was his shepherd and that meant that he was his guide and leader and protector but it was only when he visited an Australian sheep station that he saw a shepherd in action - on a huge property where he couldn't walk its width, it was so big; where the shepherding was done in a ute, bumping over a rough dirt road.
It was on this farm that Ace found out that sheep are different from a lot of other animals in that they can't defend themselves in any way. They need a leader- they are not only weak but they have no idea of finding their own way. Anything here sound familiar? Yep! All of us! Without our shepherd leading, guiding, supporting and protecting us we all end up in trouble.
Hymn When peace, like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well it is well, with my soul.
Amen to that. Whatever comes, God is with us.
Prayers for the People Val led us, praying for God's love and care for those far away, those travelling: for all those in need that they will be given hope and strength and that those who are alone will feel God's presence. She prayed that the worldwide Christian church should serve with love and sensitivity. Val then prayed for local concerns and for those known to our church who are suffering and in pain.
Ace then blessed us: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
The love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Amen. Amen. Amen.