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Grace and Gadaffi

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Ephesians 2:1-10
9am SMAS Service

Today’s epistle one I’ve chosen for the next service of Baptism and Confirmation rather than being the regular lectionary reading. It was rather difficult knowing what readings to have this morning because the set readings for today, at least the Gospel anyway, is the very one I want for next week’s concluding talk in the series about what we give to God. If you’ve been here each week you would have heard me talk on giving Him our worship; giving Him our gifts/talents and giving Him our money; next week it is giving Him our hearts, minds, strength – that is, everything. Giving ourselves, our life.


Costly Gifts

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2 Corinthians 9:6-12 and Luke 21:1-4
9am & 10.30am SMAS Service

A £50, a £20, and a £1 coin met up down the back of an old settee on the rubbish tip. The £50 says, "I've seen the whole world during my lifetime: Caribbean cruises, African safaris, casinos galore and I’ve paid for gallons of champagne" The £20 says, "Well, I've not done quite as well, but I’ve been to Disneyland, Starbucks and paid for gallons of beer. " "How about you?" they ask £1. Not wanting to be outdone, he says, "I've seen the whole country as well. I've been from church to church to church..." The £50 asked, "What's a church?"

I don’t like talking about money, anymore probably than you like hearing about it! But nearly 30 years ago I listened to a sermon about giving money to the church which made a dramatic change in my life.


Giving our Gifts

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Romans 12:1-8 and John 21:4-14
10.30am SMAS All-Age Service

Last week we looked giving God our worship (talk on website). This week we’re looking at giving our gifts and mostly looking at three main reasons why we should give our gifts in His service. Here’s the first of today’s readings to help us. Romans 12:1-8.

St Paul begins by saying that we should be offering up our lives as our worship to God. We are to be "living sacrifices" – this means 24/7. It doesn’t start or stop in a service or building. He says this has lifestyle implications. Do not be shaped by the world: a world that says it’s all about us because we’re worth it. We are but that doesn’t mean holding on to our lives but instead allowing God to change our minds so that we can know His will. Discipleship is not a second job or a hobby. Total dedication is required, not halfhearted commitment. This might sound like too big an ask but we’re going to see that God actually equips us with what we need to use and give in His service.



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Psalm 96 and John 4:19-24
9am & 10.30am SMAS Service

This talk cannot answer every question about worship but will hopefully cover some essentials.

A little boy asked his mother if she could remember the highest number she’d ever counted to. The mother didn’t know so she asked him about his highest number. He answered, "5,372." Puzzled she asked him why he stopped at that particular one. The boy replied, "Well…church was over."

A common reason given for not coming to church is it’s boring. Let’s face it we’ve all experienced church worship that’s been rather dull. Expecting boredom, church becomes a time to think about lunch or what’s happening this afternoon. Some people play games counting bricks or cobwebs. Not being as interesting as what’s on TV or at the cinema worship becomes something to endure. Let’s face it I can’t even begin to compete with Strictly Come Dancing. But then again should I expect to 'enjoy' worship. Or even to get something from it? What is worship anyway?


Harvest at Mothers Union

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2 Corinthians 9:6-12
Mothers' Union Harvest Service

British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a discussion with a man who firmly believed that children should not be given formal religious instruction, but should be free to choose their own religious faith when they reached maturity. Coleridge did not disagree, but later invited the man into his somewhat neglected garden. ‘Do you call this a garden?’ the visitor exclaimed. ‘There are nothing but weeds here!’ ‘Well, you see,’ Coleridge replied, ‘I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself.’

There is no area in life that you are not responsible to God for. You simply do not have that liberty. We are in this life to tender the garden God gives us and this covers every area of our life. EVERY area. What we do with our time; what we put into our relationships; what we put into our faith; what we do with our treasures/finances; what we do with our bodies. Everything!

And in this passage God is telling us that in this garden of our life we get out what we put in. What we sow is what we reap.


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