Worship for Sunday 26th June 2022, by Rev. Sharon Read

Call to worship

The time is now, the Lord is here!
He calls us in this moment.
Rejoice in the fullness of his love.

STF 563       O Jesus I have promised

1 O Jesus, I have promised 
To serve thee to the end; 
Be thou forever near me, 
My Master and my friend;
I shall not fear the battle 
If thou art by my side, 
Nor wander from the pathway 
If thou wilt be my guide. 

2 O let me feel thee near me! 
The world is ever near: 
I see the sights that dazzle, 
The tempting sounds I hear. 
My foes are ever near me, 
Around me and within; 
But, Jesus, draw thou nearer, 
And shield my soul from sin. 

3 O let me hear thee speaking 
In accents clear and still, 
Above the storms of passion, 
The murmurs of self-will. 
O speak to reassure me, 
To hasten or control; 
O speak, and make me listen, 
Thou guardian of my soul.

4 O Jesus, thou hast promised 
To all who follow thee
That where thou art in glory 
There shall thy servant be. 
And, Jesus, I have promised 
To serve thee to the end; 
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my friend. 


A prayer of adoration

Loving Father, keen to save,
who sent your Son to show the way.
We worship you.

Jesus, you love us and suffered for us,
and showed us heaven on earth.
We worship you.

Holy Spirit, source of new life,
rich in fruitfulness.
We worship you.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
love calling for action.
We worship you. Amen.

A prayer of confession

Following you, Jesus, does not guarantee an easy life. There are challenges and obstacles as the sinful life constantly fights with our Spirit-filled life. We are sorry when our human condition takes over and we fight using our own efforts. We’re sorry for the times we retaliate when others are hurtful to us. We’re sorry for relying on our own ideas and neglecting the wisdom of the Spirit’s guidance. We’re sorry for all the excuses we offer to get out of things you ask us to do. We’re sorry for letting you down, for our complacency. We know some things can’t wait. And that you call for action.

Forgive us, Lord.
Help us to centre our life on you,
heeding the urgency of your call.

Assurance of forgiveness

Jesus took action when it was needed.
He suffered on the cross where our sins were nailed with him.
We are forgiven.
He paid the price for all our wrongdoing and set us free from the power of sin.
Let us live in that freedom.

Luke 9:51-62 NIV

Samaritan Opposition

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[a]?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Galations 5: Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

STF 272 From heaven you came

From Heaven, You came helpless babe
Entered our world, your glory veiled
Not to be served but to serve
And give Your life that we might live

This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King

There in the garden of tears
My heavy load he chose to bear
His heart with sorrow was torn
“Yet not My will but Yours”, He said

 Come see His hands and His feet
The scars that speak of sacrifice
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered

So let us learn how to serve
And in our lives enthrone Him
Each other’s needs to prefer
For it is Christ we’re serving


A recent visit to spend time with my supervisor has been extremely though-provoking and made me ponder many things. In these post-covid times, I seem to have forgotten systems and structures and patterns of life that helped me in my daily walk with Christ. Post-covid and in injury-recovery meant that I was trying to find new ways and new things to help, when in fact what worked successfully before, will work for the me in 2022. And yet, I am extremely qualified in excuses and putting off things. Procrastination and excuses is what you would tell me. A social media post this morning reminded me that its no use writing things in my notepad or creating a to do list – if I never actually put a plan in place or highlight 3 to do today. Excuses can be great to use, but they are not so great if you are on the receiving end. We may enjoy putting things off, but we don’t enjoy it when other people delay doing what we want done… now.

In Luke 9 we read of two people making excuses to Jesus. One says he has to go and bury his father, while another wants to say his farewells to family and friends. Were they excuses or were they reasons? It may be that, in the particular circumstances of each case, Jesus knew that they were being unreasonable and that what they presented as an acceptable reason was actually simply a delaying tactic.

Jesus’ response is quick and clear. He will take no excuses. He appears to be saying ‘Follow me now or not at all.’ Sometimes an excuse conceals the truth that is ‘I will do this when I have nothing better to do’ or ‘I am going to put this at or near the bottom of my to do list or even on the back of the list.’

It helps if we understand Jesus’ urgency as being motivated by the need for prioritisation. Following Jesus should be a priority. It is too important to be put off. As a priority it demands a sense of urgency and a sense of focus. Jesus encourages his listeners to look to the future, to the kingdom that is to come rather than the past as represented by the dead or those who are being left behind. If you are not focused in the path in front of you on looking ahead then you aren’t concentrating and being a follower of Jesus requires total concentration.

This is both challenging and demanding but it is not achieved on our own. In Galatians (5.16), Paul commands that we ‘live by the Spirit’. This is both a command and a promise. If we live by the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives. This not only encourages and enriches our lives, it also enables us to be faithful disciples who live in the present and look to the future. This relationship in the Spirit is achieved by following Jesus as a life priority with no excuses. In doing so, we are set free and the Spirit will guide and shape our discipleship.

It is time to think about our own discipleship – to not just have it on our to do list but to prioritise it as urgent. Maybe our list should be about beginning the day with God; finding time to pray and worship with others; finding a small group where we can discuss and debate and question our understanding. Don’t be afraid to chat with someone in your local church about this or have a search on the Circuit website. I have always found that asking someone is the hardest thing, but there’s always someone who will point you in the right direction. The time is now. Will you follow Jesus or not?

Questions to ponder

What excuses do we have for not focusing our mind on God each day?

How can we put things in place that help us in our daily walk?

Jesus talks about our life with Him as being urgent – how do we differentiate between important and urgent?


God, help us not to waste our time
but to live for you each day.
God, help us to know what is urgent and important,
and to do it. Amen.

Most of us face challenges in our lives when it’s hard to decide what our priorities are, or what to do. As we listen to the next song which maybe unfamiliar perhaps use it as an opportunity to bring those thoughts and concerns to God and seek God’s guidance.

If you would like to ponder further:

Why was Jesus’ face set towards Jerusalem?

Why was it so urgent that the two men follow Jesus?

Why is it urgent that we should follow Jesus?

Is there something that Jesus wants of you urgently?


Song Chris Tomlin ‘I will follow’

Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow

All Your ways are good
All Your ways are sure
I will trust in You alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in You alone

Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow You
Who You love, I’ll love
How You serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow You
I will follow You

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for You alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in You alone, in You alone

Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow You

Who You love, I’ll love
How You serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow You
I will follow You, yeah

In You there’s life everlasting
In You there’s freedom for my soul
In You there’s joy, unending joy
And I will follow

Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow
Who You love, I’ll love
How You serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow 

Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
I will follow You

Who You love, I’ll love
How You serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow You, yeah
I will follow You, yeah
I will follow You, yeah
I will follow You, yeah



Loving God,
we pray for those who have difficult decisions to make today:
at home, at school, at work, in the community, in government…
Holy Spirit, help them.

We pray for those suffering the consequences of bad choices:
those in prison, those burdened with guilt, those consumed by
Holy Spirit, help them.

We pray for those whose decisions are made for them:
the unwell, the elderly, those in places of oppression…
Holy Spirit, help them.

We pray for those who are paralysed by indecision:
the stressed, the fearful, those whose circumstances keep
Holy Spirit, help them.

We pray for those who, at this moment, are making desperate

whether to flee their homes, whether to go on living, whether
to tell the truth…
Holy Spirit help them – and us.


STF 418 We have a gospel to proclaim

We have a gospel to proclaim,
Good news for all throughout the earth;

The gospel of a Saviour’s name:
We sing his glory, tell his worth.

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem,
Not in a royal house or hall,
But in a stable dark and dim,
The Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of his death at Calvary,

Hated by those he came to save;

In lonely suff’ring on the cross:

For all he loved, his life he gave.


Tell of that glorious Easter morn,

Empty the tomb, for he was free;
He broke the pow’r of death and hell

That we might share his victory.


Tell of his reign at God’s right hand,

By all creation glorified.
He sends his Spirit on his Church

To live for him, the Lamb who died.


Now we rejoice to name him King:

Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
This gospel-message we proclaim:

 We sing his glory, tell his worth.


Sending out prayer

May God grant us the wisdom to know what is important.
May God guide us to act, to do what is urgent.
May God help us to know the one we follow better each day.
May God help us to be people who don’t always look back.
May God help us always to be faithful and true.