Monday, 27 October 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 26 October 2014


Call to Worship     (Responsively between men and women)

Men: Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!

Women: Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

Men: Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

Women: Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Men: For He is our God,

Women: And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

All: Let us come to the Lord with thanksgiving. Amen.

Hymn: "Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the holy one is here (David Evans)." A hymn with a gentle command to remember that we are on Holy ground and to alert us to the possibilities of what we can experience if we open our hearts and minds.

Prayer of Adoration and Confession                         Hugh Park

"Our God and Heavenly Father, we come before you this morning to praise you and adore you." Hugh continued praising God for his wisdom and his guidance through our many experiences of life. He, on our behalf, acknowledged, as far as we humans can, God's great love for us. He went on with thanks to speak of God's compassion which despite our many flaws and stumbles, holds us close to him. "We confess that sometimes we are weak. We confess that sometimes we are greedy;  we want more and more and more and often neglect other people in need."

"Forgive us dear Lord, for our sins and our selfishness and our insensitivity.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen."

Offering A little of God's bounteous blessings to us returned for his service.

Powerpoint   A creative Calendar of Seniors…” a little lightness to lift our spirits. Photos from a calendar where seniors dressed as characters from well known films in iconic poses, reminding us that there is God-given life in us still - and we can still be of service to God and to our neighbours.

Hymn:  TIS 229 Jesus loves me, this I know. As the children left for Sunday Kids and Mini Kids, a hymn that they can understand and to which the child in all of us responds.

Bible Readings: Joan Sams.  Psalm 1: Check it out. A comparison between the experiences of good and wicked people. A recent item on the Internet showed that when things are unfair not only do those who are treated unfairly suffer, so do those who hand out the unfairness. Being wicked does not bring any rewards but being obedient to God brings security and peace.

Matthew 22:34-46 The two great commandments. Love God. Love our neighbour. That includes really irritating family and relatives. It includes people whose customs and food are different from ours - even people with different political views!

Reflection​​​                                           Hugh

Hugh began by directing our attention to all the war, murder, torture and persecution that has been carried out throughout history in the name of religion. And it's still happening: fundamentalist Muslim militants, the Middle East conflict, the hostility between India and Pakistan, the genocide in Africa and all the other hostility across the world.

Hugh remembered a photo of President Bush praying for the American soldiers, while in Iraq Saddam Hussein was praying for his country and soldiers who would be attacked by the American soldiers. (During WW1, the British soldiers were fighting for God, King and Country against German soldiers who were fighting for God, Kaiser and Fatherland.) Hugh spoke about discrimination against Jews in American Country Clubs and the Existence of our White Australia's Policy. (While this is no longer in legislation, it doesn't take much to find that it is still alive and well, even among Christians who would teach that we are all children of God.) The silly part is that the whole point of the policy was to keep Australia as a white CHRISTIAN country.

"Well today, every religion I know of sees itself as a beacon of light for the rest of the world. Every religion we know of talks about love: love of their god and love of their people. If ever the world needed to hear the Gospel, I believe it is now. A lawyer asked Jesus a question in an attempt to test him. Master, which is the great commandment?

Jesus answered him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the laws and the prophets.’”

Would you say that was love for God or love for neighbor? We know now they cannot be split apart. They cannot be separated . I have met Christians who talk about being sensible and not wasting money on people who are not going to manage it well, Christians who talk about only associating with Christians in case they become corrupted. Fortunately for us Jesus didn't take that view.

"If you do not LOVE your neighbours as yourself, you are not actually responding to Gods love toward you. Yes. Our love for God is primary and our love for neighbours is our response to that Love.

REMEMBER WHENEVER YOU DO AN ACT OF LOVE TO ANOTHER, YOU DO IT UNTO CHRIST.  God loves us through Christ. We love God through our neighbor.  To try it any other way does not work.

That is the Gospel of Gods love that Jesus Christ our Lord showed to us and to all the world. Amen.

 Hymn: TIS 685 "Lord, I come to you" Our plea that the power of God's love will change us into people who will be able to keep the two great commandments. It's hard to sing that and mean it. We really do like our own way.

Prayers for the People and Lords Prayer​​​  Laurel led us in our prayers for God's people near and far. For people in trouble spots who cannot be ignored because we now have so many ways of knowing all that happens all over the world. Laurel directed our thoughts to the situation in Ukraine and to the Ebola crisis, praying for all those who are in a position to help, especially political leaders. That they will make wise decisions. We prayed for the scientific teams developing a vaccine against Ebola and for the medical staff who have to face traumatic situations.

Laurel prayed for us to be peace-makers and that here at home our leaders will provide the financial, medical and other help needed for a peaceful society.

Laurel directed our thoughts to those young people sitting for exams and considering their careers.

We then prayed for the church all over Australia, especially in country areas but also in our own congregation at Marsden Road. Then we turned our thoughts to those known to us who are ill or in pain, concluding with The Lord's Prayer.

Hymn: TIS 465 "Father in heaven, grant to your children" Again, we pray for God's spirit to transform us. Transform us into beings that can pass on his love to the world.


Have no fear, whoever you are, wherever you go,

The Lord is your strength and your comfort.

God the Creator made you; God the Saviour heals you;

God the Spirit sends you.  Go now, for he is with you.  Amen!

Hale, Hale, Hale. A joyful way to go out to serve the Lord.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 19 October 2014


Call to Worship

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love, may be open to your word to us today, and may come to know how we can truly invest what we have to grow your kingdom here on earth.

As we gather here to worship you this day, let us give our thanks and praise to God as we join in this celebration. We are invited, we are the people chosen to gather here, we are part of Gods Kingdom, so let us enter this time of worship with praise and thanks giving. A prayer much used over many years, and for good reason. It prepares us for this time before our God

Opening Hymn:  AHB 557 Lord of Creation, to you be all praise. Praise to the king of our world and lives, thanking God for the life he gives us and the joy we derive from service to him and the great gifts we receive in that service,

Prayer of Praise & Thanks;

God, Creator, Saviour and Life giving Spirit, we come to you this morning with our prayers of praise and thanksgiving. From the many experiences we have had throughout the week, we come together this morning as a community to express what it means to have you in our lives. Dan gave thanks and praise on our behalf for the use God can make of our simple offerings and the difference that can be made in our ordinary lives through the work of the Spirit.

Prayer of Confession

We offer our praise and adoration Lord, and we also offer our Prayers of Confession.

Loving and merciful God, we have sinned in thought and deed, in what we have done and in what we have failed to do.  Jesus Christ we pray. Dan prayed for forgiveness for our lack of love and our waste of our God-given talents.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Hear then these words of assurance, nothing will make God happier than for us to be whole and at peace with Him. So God forgives our sins, renews our spirit and heals our wounds. God wants us to rejoice, and to celebrate his grace and love. Amen

Hymn: ​​TIS 161 Tell out my Soul. Voices were raised. Hearts were lifted up as we absorbed the significance of the service to this point and gave grateful thanks for our relationship with God.

Offering We returned just a little of our blessings and asked that it will be used for God's work.

Notices There were a few but the important one is that Elaine's back next week.

Important Bible Words ​​​​​​Jan Roden. Oliver read the important words: "The Lord is King."

Bible Readings:1 Timothy 6: 11 21​​ Colin read this exhortation to live rightly before God as we have been commanded. Sometimes it's good to get a clear reminder of what being Christian is all about.

​​​Matthew 25: 14 30 The parable of the talents. I think we sometimes become upset for the poor servant who tried not to take risks with his master's money.
However when we think in terms of our personal talents, and remember the mobility rule, "use it or lose it" it starts to make sense. But as Dan will say in the sermon - there's more.

Sermon: ​​Investing what we have for God. Dan began by warning us that the parable of the talents isn't quite the straightforward story it might appear to be. He pointed out how extravagantly generous the master was. That lesson is about us every day. Then the second point is about being responsible stewards of the gifts we are given. I have seen people move into a home with a most beautiful garden, only to neglect it and end up with a huge mess. Thirdly, Dan revealed that the parable is a warning about being a religion that is "cautious and resentful". Jesus makes it clear that the cautious, resentful person is no use to the Kingdom. Dan's sermon was much more complex but I think if we just act on the warnings so far given, the world will be more like the one God wants.

Hymn:​​AHB 520 Take my life and let it be. Our response to the message of the Matthew reading and to Dan's words. As in the old hymn, "All for Jesus"

Prayers of Intercession​​​​​​ Dan prayed for the needs of our community, particularly for those concerns mentioned by members of the congregation, asking for God's comfort and support for those who are ill or in need.

Final Hymn:​​AHB 543 God of Grace and God of Glory. A prayer that God will, through his spirit, work in us that we will be fruitful servants and thereby bring about his will in the world around us.

​​​(Tune : Regent Street TIS142)

Benediction & Dismissal

In the power of the Holy Spirit we go out into this community to fulfil our calling as people of God and as the body of Christ. Go in peace, love and care for one another, and share Gods grace with those around you.

May God bless you with every gift and talent you need for his service, and may you invest what you have in willingness to risk yourself for the Good News of the Kingdom, and may the love and grace, the hope and faith of Jesus dwell in your heart this day and always.   Amen

Three Fold Amen

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 12th October 2014

The Call to Worship  Hugh welcomed us to worship in the name of Jesus Christ!   “It is a delight to be together in the house of God! Let us lift our voices with joyful hearts! May the grace of God, the love of Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us now in this hour”.

Hymn  TiS 627                                   “Praise and Thanksgiving”

Albert Frederick Bayly began his ministry in the late 1920’s and served at four Congregational churches before he became pastor in Thaxted, Essex in 1962.   He retired in 1971 and became active in his local United Reformed Church.  Hugh suggested that the last few lines of this hymn, written in 1961, should be a focus for daily prayer all over the world.  “Where you are reigning no one will hunger, your love sustaining fruitful the land.”   

Announcements:  Pat told us we have an extra week to prepare our shoeboxes for the Samaritan’s Purse Program, to send them as a gift to children in need and Ruth reminded us there will be a Friendship Circle Morning Tea after Church in two weeks from today.  We welcomed eight week old Billy to his first service with us with his family.  

Prayer of Adoration:  This was read by Hugh; “God of grace and love, you are the reason for our gathering in this place.  Enhance our minds and our faith, we pray, so our spirits may reach up to your Spirit, so our hearts may beat with the compassion of your heart, and we may worship you this hour in purity and peace.  Lord our Father, you alone are the source of hope we have cherished all our lives.  So, we praise you with songs and prayers for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Prayer of Confession:  Together we read; “Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  Amen”.

Assurance of Pardon:   Leader: Dear children of God’s Kingdom! Do not be afraid. For with God there is great mercy to forgive and there is great power to transform.
People: Thanks be to God. Our sins are forgiven!

Offering / Prayer:  Hugh invited us to dedicate part of our lives as an offering to God as we expressed our gratitude to Him for all His gifts.

Important Bible Words for Children for Today & Children’s Message:  Jan invited Oliver to help her read the “Important Bible Words” – in day’s gone by perhaps called a weekly “text” to be committed to memory, this “new tradition” was a real joy.   Verse 1 of Psalm 106 was beautifully read; “It is good to give thanks to the Lord for His love lasts forever.”  Hugh reminded us all that we should remember to say thanks every day.  After we sang Hymn  TiS 467: “I am the church! You are the church!  We are the church together! - Ruth took the children out to Sunday Kids with a special blessing from Hugh to welcome young Billy as the newest of the “Sunday Kids”.  This brought special meaning to the lines; “I count if I am ninety or nine or just a baby.” 

Bible Reading:                                  Psalm 23 (page 411) Matthew 22: 1-14 (page 747)

Malcolm reminded us that this “Shepherd’s Psalm” is the most loved passage in the Bible before he read the familiar words to us.  I could almost feel the people in the church relaxing as he began to read.  The passage from Matthew; the Parable of the Wedding Feast – like the story of the Tenant Farmers last week – is quite shocking and certainly stops us in our tracks! 

Reflection:                                         “Who has time for God’s Banquet?”
Hugh began his reflection by asking us to imagine a scenario where; all the invited guests for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, having accepted their invitation, did not attend – but made ridiculous excuses.  Hardly – it was the wedding of the year! 
Of course this example highlights that this would be considered a great lack of respect for our Queen and her family and brings a sense of “reality” to the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, which Hugh was at pains to remind us is not a true story.  It is a made up story to encourage us to think deeply about finding time in our lives to attend God’s Banquet – or put bluntly – “To put aside time to respect God and centre our lives on Him and His purpose in our lives.”   This kind of deep thinking helps me at least to be able to dismiss the harshness of the story – and to accept this is part of the parable’s lesson about respect.
We need to set our priorities.  This is not to say that our families and our work and our friends are not very important; but as Hugh said so eloquently; “The point is that amidst those important matters in life, we still have to make a priority, and that is God and our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and we must find some more room for our church and all its activities, so that the church goes ahead for many years and generations to come in preaching the good news to the world”.  
I really understood the next thought in the reflection:  “If we do not make God our first priority; the important things in life are crowded out by the urgent things, and you’ll often find that you are living barely one day at a time.”  I had a wonderful brother who lived his life this way – always stopping to decide which matters were urgent and which were important.  This could sometimes be annoying to live with, but it was probably the best of many good life lessons I learned from my brother.    
Back to Hugh’s thoughts about God as our first priority!  “Solomon’s Proverbs ch. 1 says;  ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge’.  We all know and agree that the most important priority in our life is knowing God and serving God.  But the problem is that our lifestyle and many other factors in modern life crowd out that priority.  If you are too busy to heed God's voice then you are too busy. If you are too busy to make God’s invitation to his feast the top priority, then you are too busy.  We must not forget that there will come a time when our relationship with Him will be the only priority that will matter and last forever”. 

That certainly is a thought provoking comment!

“In A Journey with the Saints, Thomas S. Kepler has written: ‘The secret of the revolution in the lives of the saints lies in the fact that their lives are centered in God.’  That is the great secret to successful living the realization that when one reserves time to come to God's banquet, all of the rest of life will fall in place.”
“We need to keep in mind… without God life is simply a whirlwind of meaningless activity in the middle of nowhere. We need to center our lives in Him and His purpose in our lives. Then we discover that life truly is a feast.  Our God always offers an invitation to His banquet.  The question is….”Will you take time to accept?”

Prayers of the People:  Our prayers for the people were led by Hugh who asked us to pray with all our heart and mind.  “Let us pray to God, saying, "God of grace, be with us."  We repeated this plea over and over as Hugh spoke of; “This time of confusion, grief, vulnerability and loss in this small global village … Those who serve God in all countries and all traditions… We remembered God’s love as we embraced His forgiveness… We prayed for the strength to hold fast to God’s hope as we help His people to do the same… We prayed for the leaders of this nation and all people in authority to be guided by God’s wisdom … We prayed for strength and courage to know and accomplish God’s purposes in the midst of the evil of these days.”  Hugh reminded us of; “A God whose vision spans all the ages of the earth and asked that we might see and embrace the wider perspective of His whole creation… We asked to be delivered from hatred, cruelty, revenge and misunderstanding and to be lead into a way of love and justice that makes room for all peoples.”  We prayed for the needs of those people we know personally and joined together in the comfort of the Lord’s Prayer.

Hymn TiS 601                                    "O Master, let me walk with you"
The words of this Hymn were originally written by Washington Gladden as a poem, but his friend, Rev. C. H. Richards, saw a hymn in the lines of the poem and adapted the words. A really good hopeful hymn to set off on our path for the coming week!
In hope that sends a shining ray Far down the future’s broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give, With Thee, O Master, let me live.

The Benediction:  “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace.  May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and with all your family and friends, now and forever”.  Amen.

Retiring hymn TiS 720:               “Hale, Hale, Hale”  

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Unting Church 5 October 2014

Call to Worship                      Rev Hugh Park

Jesus is the word made flesh, who came to live among us.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Dear friends in Christ, Come, let us praise him.

L: The Lord be with you;

P: And also with you!

Hymn:   TIS 147 To God be the glory A declaration of our awe of the amazing works of our creator and redeemer!

Prayer of Adoration and Confession   (Hugh)

A prayer acknowledging how sin has marred God's perfect creation and how only God could provide the remedy. Hugh claimed God's promise for us to accept us as we are and blessed God's name because it is he and he alone who can deal with the terrors in the world. Hugh on our behalf, confessed our complicity in the things that mar creation and asked for God to re-create us so that we can create a new world in his strength. Hugh pleaded for forgiveness for all our failings.

L: Jesus was born among us, to save us, not to condemn us.

P: Whoever believes in Him is not condemned.

L: Friends, hear the Good News again, the word of Grace and pardon:

P: In Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God!

Hymn:  TIS 643 I want to walk as a child of the light We know that God is the source of light to our lives and that he will lead us in ways of goodness. Lucky. Because by ourselves we are hopeless.

Bible Readings: Read by Alan.
Philippians 3:7-14; "I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord."
I don't think I can improve on that.
Matthew 21:33-46. An interesting passage. It is unclear what the tenant farmers thought they could get away with without finally being brought to account. First they kill the landowner's representatives and then his son and heir. If we were watching this on TV or a film we would know it wasn't going to end well for the tenants but they seem blind to the obvious. Where do we fit into this story?    

Reflection​​​                      Hugh

"In my sermon last week, I have quoted from the famous author C.S.Lewis who said, True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.Yes. Quite true.  Humility is one word that had been used to describe Jesusattitude in the letter of Philippians. Id like to quote from C.S Lewis again this morning. He said, As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.

Hugh talked of the relevance of today's reading to our lives today. We forget whose world this is and according to whose laws we should be living. We try to derail The Plan and run things according to what we see as advantageous to us. We are not looking at the long term. In eternity, status, control, money don't  count for anything.

"Id like to remind you again of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 20, that reads the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Amen.

Prayers of the People and Lords PrayerNoelene Price

Noelene spoke of the events of the world that frighten us such as people under the control of terrorists and the warfare destroying the lives of innocent people. She prayed that world leaders look for a peaceful solution to these conflicts. Noeleen prayed for Jan Reeve that she and we will listen to God's voice. Noeleen then prayed for Hugh and Yoonhee as they come to the end of their Ministry with us, that God will them guide to a new position. Prayers were then offered for this close to us and then we joined in the Lord's Prayer.


The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

(All may exchange a sign of peace.)

Hymn : TIS 517 Hallelujah! Sing to Jesus(vv. 1, 2 & 3 only) Praise for God's power and his redeeming work among us. Amen.

Preparation of the Table (Condensed)

(The gifts of the people are gathered and presented; The table is prepared and bread and wine are placed upon it.)

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this bread to set before you, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

 Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this wine to set before you, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become for us the cup of salvation.


 The Spirit of the Lord is with you.

R. And also with you.

 Lift up your hearts.

R. We lift them to the Lord.

 Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

​R. It is right to give thanks and praise.

 Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:

 Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


Lord, you are the source of all holiness; by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may become to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Take, eat; this is my body that is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, and drink it in remembrance of me.

Let us proclaim our faith.

Christ has died: Christ is risen: Christ will come again.

Lord Holy Spirit, you are the giver of life in whom we live and move and have our being.  Lord, transform this bread and wine to be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, so that we will be transformed to be your Kingdom people in this world.   Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Prayer after Communion

We thank you that you have fed us with this holy bread and wine, the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ our Saviour. We now become members of His Body, and thus His agents in this world.  Lord our Father. Bless us so we will be a blessing to many people around us.  Help us to live your Kingdom life, so they will get to know you better through us.  In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Hymn: TIS 699A new commandment That we love one another. We can only be loving because of God's work in us. And this is how God's love is made known to the world.

Benediction and Threefold Amen or retiring hymn:

May the feet of God walk with you