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God's Invitation to us

“Ask and it will be given to you; 
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.  

For everyone who asks receives;
the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

(Matthew 7:7-11)

Let's speak to God in prayer

O Lord our God, 
You're more ready to give good gifts to us
than we are to seek them. 
You're more willing to give 
that we desire or deserve. 
Help us to ask so that we'd joyfully receive, 
Help us to seek so that we'd find, 
Help us to knock and so find the door of your mercy open wide to us, 
through Jesus Christ 

"If we want to experience the security of God's faithfulness in the midst of uncertainty and impending trials, we won't find it by endlessly checking Facebook, BBC News, the Internet, and blogs. We will fix our minds and hearts on what is true about God. 

Singing is one of the ways God has given us to remember these realities. It enables the word of Christ to dwell in us richly (Col 3:16)"

(some helpful words from Bob Kauflin, with BBC changed for CNN!) 

And what better way than with this song that helps us reflect on who we are and who God is?

Let's say sorry to God, confident to do this because of Jesus

In your presence we confess our sinfulness, our shortcomings and our offences against you. 

You alone know how often we've sinned 
and how greatly 
when we've wandered from your ways 
when we've wasted your gifts 
when we've forgotten your love.

Have mercy on us, Lord, 
Forgive us our sins, 
clean us up deep within, 
so that we'd be renewed in our joy in your salvation
and we'd more closely resemble Jesus
loving what you love, Father, in the way you love. 

In Jesus name 

Some words to give us comfort and encouragement

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  (Romans 8:32)

We can utterly depend on God at all times - here are some reasons why:

Let's listen to God as He speaks to us

But let's take a moment to pray first. 

Lord, open our hearts and minds 
by the power of your Holy Spirit, 
that as the Bible is read
and Your word is proclaimed,
we'd hear with joy what you say to us today.

The message of Genesis 21 as we see it fulfilled in Christ might be well expressed in this song

{for those who like the full version ... here are the other verses!}

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Speaking to our Father in Heaven

[We are tending to do more of our praying together as a church through Zoom meetings now. We will continue that and hope to grow in it too. And we're sharing more during the week on WhatsApp. So, recognising we're all in very different situations at home, here are two ways to pray today

Here's the short version: 

Pray in Genesis 21's message, thanking God, asking Him for help to believe and obey what He's said to you.

Pray for someone who is not a Christian

Pray for 2 other people at church.

Here's the slightly longer version: 

Pray in Genesis 21's message, thanking God, asking Him for help to believe and obey what He's said to you.

Pray for someone who is not a Christian and for opportunities to share the gospel with them. Maybe someone you have spoken too this week?

Pray for our leaders in government as they bear great responsibilities and as they represent us. 

Pray for the judge weighing up the case against Cornerstone Fostering Agency brought by Ofsted

Pray for as many others in the church family as you can - remembering especially those isolated, those ill, Sylvia (inoperable cancer), Donna (chemo this week) and Rachel (due date is end of May). 

And if you've got loads of time: 
Do the above. Then open Mark 10:29-30 and Hebrews 12:1-3. Ask: how do your joys, priorities and passions compare with Jesus' and the life he calls his followers to? Then pray about that!

Rejoice at how great and gracious is our King!

In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope without light
Till from heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfil the law and prophets
To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt

Praise the Father
Praise the Son
Praise the Spirit three in one
God of glory
Praise forever to the King of Kings

To reveal the kingdom coming
And to reconcile the lost
To redeem the whole creation
You did not despise the cross
For even in Your suffering
You saw to the other side
Knowing this was our salvation
Jesus for our sake You died

And the morning that You rose
All of heaven held its breath
Till that stone was moved for good
For the Lamb had conquered death
And the dead rose from their tombs
And the angels stood in awe
For the souls of all who’d come
To the Father are restored

And the Church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint
By His blood and in His Name
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me

May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Spirit. 

[Romans 15:13] 

What next?

As a church family we have a WhatsApp group where we can share news and encourage one another as Christians to live for Jesus this week. So, do share what helped you from our 'meeting together' today.

We can also Zoom one another - it's most effective done between 3-5 people I think, so think who you could invite to chat (see it like a little group chatting over refreshments in the back room or still sat on the chairs in the main room!) - or why not phone someone or send an individual WhatsApp message? 

These are the ways (at the moment) we can do the 'one anothering' that God want us to (loving one another, encouraging one another, being patient with one another etc.!)

If you've been with us as a visitor, we'd love to know, so please fill in the form below.
And we'd love to have you back next week! (Same place - any time to suit you!)


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