Sunday 17 May

We’re not able to meet together as church family today and for the coming weeks. Although, by necessity, we have to stay apart physically, we’re standing together to love, support and encourage one another. So, in around 90 different homes, we’ll sing the same songs, pray the same prayers and look together at the promise that we are forgiven as we look to Colossians 1:13-14. There are some activities for those aged 14 or under to do and a bible talk from Richard for us to listen to.

For each person in your home, you’ll need a copy of this service sheet, a bible, print outs of the children’s sheets (if needed) and your computer or tablet to click on the links below. Please note that the songs are being played from YouTube, if one of the annoying adverts pop up, click on the ‘skip ad’ button.

Today’s service sheet can be downloaded here

Today’s resources for E Kids can be found here

The thinking behind the song choices is explained in italics

WELCOME AND OPENING PRAYER
Watch the video of Alex’s welcome and intro by clicking here

The passage of the bible we’re looking at this morning says that God has delivered Christians from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his Son. We celebrate this in our opening song.

SONG – listen by clicking here
You have called us out of darkest night,
Into Your glorious light;
That we may sing the wonders of the risen Christ.
May our every breath retell the grace,
That broke into our strife;
With boundless love and deepest joy,
With endless life.

May the peoples praise You!
Let the nations be glad!
All Your blessing comes, that we may praise,
May praise the Name of Jesus

All the earth is Yours and all within,
Each harvest is Your own;
And from Your hand we give to You,
To make Christ known.
May the seeds of mercy grow in us,
For those who have not heard.
May songs of praise build lives of grace,
To spread Your Word.

This our holy privilege to declare:
Your praises and Your name.
To every nation, tribe and tongue,
Your church proclaims.

Holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
Worthy, worthy is the Lamb Who was slain

Holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
All creation praise Your glorious Name

BITESIZE
Click here to see Church members, Alex and Becci Bitsios-Esposito, update us on what’s been happening with them during lockdown.

We read Psalm 32 together.

Psalm 32
Blessed is the one
  whose transgressions are forgiven,
  whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
  whose sin the LORD does not count against them
  and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
  my bones wasted away
  through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
  your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
  as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
  and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, ‘I will confess
  my transgressions to the LORD.’
And you forgave
  the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
  while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
  will not reach them.

You are my hiding-place;
  you will protect me from trouble
  and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
  I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
  which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
  or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
  but the LORD’s unfailing love
  surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
  sing, all you who are upright in heart!

In a few moments, we’re going to pray to God. We can come before him with complete confidence because of what Jesus achieved by dying on the cross, which we focus on in our next song.

SONG – listen by clicking here
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
a great High Priest, whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
my name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see him there
who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
for God, the Just, is satisfied
to look on him and pardon me,
to look on him and pardon me.

Behold him there, the risen Lamb;
my perfect, spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable I AM,
the King of glory and of grace!
One with himself, I cannot die;
my soul is purchased with his blood;
my life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ, my Saviour and my God,
with Christ, my Saviour and my God.

PRAYERS
[Say aloud the prayers that are printed here on the sheet. If there’s more than one of you, you might like to take it in turns who says the prayer out loud. If it’s just you or you’re with people who aren’t able or confident in reading then say them all yourself!]

Father God, we thank you that you have called us out of darkness, into the kingdom of your son. Thank you that by believing in Jesus, we can know that we have full and complete forgiveness of all of our sin. Thank you that we do not have to live in guilt or fear, but can look forward confidently to the day when Jesus comes. Amen.

Father, we confess that this week we’ve have sinned in what we have thought, what we have said, and what we have done. We are sorry for our sin and we ask once more for your forgiveness. Thank you that because Jesus has died for us we can confess our sins, knowing that you are faithful and just and will forgive us. Thank you for the confident assurance we have that you always forgive us because of Jesus. Amen.

Please will you help us to show to others the same grace that you have shown to us. Please help us to forgive others as you have forgiven us. You know the bitterness in our hearts towards others who have hurt us in the past, or whom we are struggling with at the moment. We turn from this. Please help us to forgive. Amen.

We thank you Father for the many people who are taking more interest in you at this time of crisis in our world. Please will you use this time of lockdown to bring more people to hear of your forgiveness, and to believe in Jesus so that they too can say ‘I am forgiven’. Please will you use us to speak to others of your forgiveness. Amen.

We pray for our Mission partner Noblesse, as he works among the Laarim people in South Sudan. Please equip him with everything he needs as he takes the good news of forgiveness of sins to them. Please may many amongst the Laarim believe and be saved. Please will you use Noblesse and the rest of the team to raise up and train church leaders and evangelists amongst the Laarim. We ask all of these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Our next song reminds us that, because of God’s great mercy to us, we’re forgiven and don’t get what we deserve.

SONG – listen by clicking here
Oh the mercy of God the glory of grace,
that you chose to redeem us, to forgive and restore,
and you call us your children, chosen in him
to be holy and blameless to the glory of God.

To the praise of his glorious grace,
to the praise of his glory and power;
to him be all glory, honour and praise
for ever and ever and ever, Amen.

Oh the richness of grace, the depths of his love,
in him is redemption, the forgiveness of sin.
You called us as righteous, predestined in him
for the praise of his glory, included in Christ.

Oh the glory of God expressed in his Son,
his image and likeness revealed to us all;
the plea of the ages completed in Christ
that we be presented perfected in him.

Watch the bible talk video for the reading and bible talk from Richard by clicking here.

BIBLE READING
Colossians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

BIBLE TALK

I am forgiven

Talk outline:
1. The markers of genuine Christian faith
  -trust in Jesus
  -love for other Christians
  -the hope of heaven

2. Paul is praying that:
  -they’ll know how God wants them to live
  -they’ll be strengthened by God

3. God has:
  -qualified us
  -delivered us
  -I am forgiven

3 questions we ask:
  -“if I’m really forgiven, does that mean I can live however I want?”
  -“if I’m really forgiven, why do I still sin?”
  -“if I’m really forgiven, why do I still feel guilty?”

In our closing song we marvel that we really do stand forgiven at the cross.

SONG – listen by clicking here
Oh to see the dawn of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten, then
nailed to a cross of wood.

This the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us.
Took the blame, bore the wrath –
we stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh to see the pain written on Your face,
bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought, every evil deed
crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees,
now the ground beneath
quakes as its maker bows his head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life;
‘finished!’ the victory cry.

Oh to see my name
written in the wounds,
for through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death,
life is mine to live,
won through Your selfless love.

This the power of the cross:
Son of God – slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

CLOSING PRAYER
Click here to watch the video as Alex closes the service in prayer.

That concludes our service. We’ll be meeting up as a church on Zoom from 12.00-12.30pm – do come along! It’ll be open from 11.50am. The meeting details are on this weeks service sheet.

Some material in this service is © Used by permission CCL Licence # 1102690. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.