Our Class Fellowship continues to meet for fellowship once a fortnight and every other meeting we now discuss the message preached the preceding Sunday.
We find it so helpful to have the message script on our web site Blog and thanks again to Jessica for everything she is doing for us.
When we met virtually on Wednesday 2nd September, we discussed Rev John Rowe’s message from last Sunday morning, CTS service (30th August 2020) when he preached on Matthew 16; 21-35
Verse 24 reads; Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
John began his message by saying, “I was this week surprised to hear that 35 million meals were sold in the first two weeks of the Chancellor’ half price meal scheme - Eat out to help out’. It would appear from this that the British public just love a bargain! Interestingly, today’ gospel reading makes clear, that where the journey of Christian faith is concerned, there are no cheap bargains on offer but rather in following Jesus there are crosses to bear, crosses to take up.”
We all said how much we appreciated his message and proceeded to share our thoughts.
The level of honesty in sharing is based on a deep sense of trust, so the detail of sharing and thoughts remains within our Class but suffice to say many expressed how helpful and challenging they had found John’s words.
Carly shared the following that meant a good deal to her, and on reflection, touched us all deeply.
The will of God
The will of God will never take you, where the grace of God cannot keep you, where the arms of God cannot support you, where the riches of God cannot supply your needs, where the power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you, where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, where the wisdom of God cannot teach you, where the army of God cannot protect you, where the hands of God cannot mould you.
The will of God will never take you, where the love of God cannot enfold you, where the mercies of God cannot sustain you, where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you, where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, where the Word of God cannot feed you, where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Everything happens for a purpose.
We may not see the wisdom of it all now, but trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best.
Gill then shared this challenging poem by Adrian Plass, who is a British author and speaker who writes primarily Christian humour, but also short stories, Bible commentaries and novels with a more serious tone.
When I Became a Christian
When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in, Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin. He said, Your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink, Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – I think. I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen, I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again? You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink, Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.
But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said, I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed. Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit, Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit. A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen, I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again? You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit, Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.
Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy, Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy. That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow, So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow. Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen, I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again? You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow, Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.
He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity, The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit, Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit. I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you, But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do. He said forget religion then, and think about my Son, And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.
Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go, Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know, Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear, To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear. And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end, The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend, Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry? When nails break your body-are you man enough to die? Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown, Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down, Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again? I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen, I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.
Martin rounded off the evening by offering with the following thought-provoking questions
1. What does Jesus mean when He says we must take up our cross and follow Him? Sometimes we think that our crosses must be big things, like somebody is dying or having to move to a new house. But these aren’t things we all experience.
Crosses can be little things also:
2. Changing the subject when someone starts gossiping.
3. Getting chores done without being asked.
4. Staying calm when others are being annoying.
5. Staying away from inappropriate thoughts and words online.
6. What are some of the crosses in your life right now?
7. Does it help to see our response to these challenges as an act of love instead of just doing them because we have to?
8. How can we support each other as we carry our crosses?