Notices for Sunday 25th October 2015

Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you.
Rom 10:9 (Message)

Help us Father God to find the freedom to live the life you intend for us by acknowledging Jesus as the one through whom you bring the life and joy and love of your rule into our lives.

We welcome our preacher this morning who is Mr David Young
After service tea hosts Keith and Myra

Our thanks for the flowers this morning which are given by Barb Cole
Organist: Joan McGowan

Sunday 1st November
11.00am        Mr Martin Woodall

Diary Dates

Mon 26th     Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Tue 27th     Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am – noon
Wed 28th    Weekly house group at the home of Barry Smith, Riverslea, Sarn Lane 2.00pm
Wed 28th    House Bible Study at Avril’s .7.30pm – 9.00pm
Fri 30th      Lunch Club in the hall at noon – Price £2.50

Sun 1st        ‘Inspirations’ Poetry & Song at Rhosymedre 2.30pm
Wed 11th     Midweek Communion Regent Street 11.15am
Sat 14th      Circuit Day Pilgrimage Englesea Brook
Wed 25th    “Time Out” a monthly reflective worship at Hope Parish Church  7.30pm (4th Wed in the month)
Sun 29th     Circuit Service at Regent Street 4.30pm – 6.30pm

Sun 6th       Advent Service RC Church Llay 6.00pm

Please pray for the following:
Phyllis Davies
Isobel Holroyd
Mark Steene
Gareth Jones
Kay Davies
Dorreen Holroyd
Vanessa Woolrich

All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.

No More Shame
Rom. 10:8-13

The spiritual life is a pilgrimage for us all. Like me, you can probably look back on your journey and find beliefs, actions, and words that you’re probably embarrassed to admit. For me, it’s the way in which the good news was presented as a kind of magical formula. If you said the right words, it was like a spell that would miraculously make everything alright. And this approach was even backed up with Scripture! It was called “the Roman Road to Salvation.” Basically, this was a pamphlet that took selected verses from Paul’s Letter to the Romans and came up with a summary of the “good news.” It starts with “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and goes through “the wages of sin is death” to this very passage from our NT lesson for today: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9-10)!

In my opinion, the result of this approach to the gospel was and is a kind of magical way of looking at faith and salvation. Innumerable “evangelists” repeat the appeal that “all you have to do is pray this simple prayer” –with the promise that you will (automatically?) have a new quality of life. One of the reasons why this approach to evangelism was so “successful” is that most of us tend to have some sense of guilt or shame about our lives. Most of us can point to something about our lives that just doesn’t quite measure up. Whether we fall just a little short or a lot short of what we would like to be, the shame we feel is a powerful motivator. In our despair over the prospect of ever finding the freedom to live life with joy, we turn to these spiritual illusionists in the hope that they have the power to save us.

Among the many problems I have with that whole approach to the gospel is that I don’t think Paul was that simplistic in his notions of God and faith and salvation. So what is there about “confessing ‘Jesus is Lord’” and “believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead” that translates for us into “salvation? Well, among other things, I think that the willingness to acknowledge Jesus or God or anyone besides “me” as sovereign in my soul is a very important first step in finding the freedom to live life with joy and purpose. It means acknowledging that I cannot save myself; it means admitting—at least to myself—that I need a Saviour.

Of course, the biggest obstacle to that life-changing recognition is my big, fat, German-American ego! But when it comes to religion, it seems that the ego has always exercised an influence that can only be called “sinful.”

We all know the voice that tells us that in order to be “good enough” we have to attain a certain level of success, or our kids have to turn out a certain way, or we have to look just so, or we have to have more and better stuff than our neighbours. We think we are “taking care” of ourselves when we obey these dictates of the false god within, but in reality we are simply locking ourselves in the prison of our own selfish desires. I think many people hate the prison of selfishness that keeps them from enjoying life, but they are afraid. One of the most effective tools that this false self uses to keep us imprisoned is shame. I don’t mean by that the embarrassment we all feel when we get caught doing something we wish we hadn’t done. Shame goes much deeper. It is the notion that somehow we don’t deserve to live, or we are unwanted, or we are unworthy of basic human dignity.

One of the tragic dimensions to this story is that we tend to respond to that voice of shame by trying to “prove it wrong.” But in that very act we are actually giving shame more power over our lives. Even when we turn to the spiritual gurus who promise to take all our shame away with a wave of their magic wand, we are still feeding the selfish idol within us that demands all our attention. Only by recognizing the illusions that bind us in the prison house of shame can we find the freedom to live the life God intends for us.

Acknowledging Jesus as one through whom God brings the life and joy and love of God’s rule into our lives can be a step toward that freedom. Taking that step requires that we recognize that when we obsessively pursue our own selfish agenda, we remain imprisoned in our shame. The way to begin the process of becoming free from that voice of shame is to acknowledge that there is one who loves us unconditionally, irrevocably, undeniably—throughout time and eternity. To this one we are always of infinite worth, we are always wanted, chosen, and loved. To this one we can turn and know that “No one who believes in him will be put to shame” (Rom. 10:11).

Alan Brehm, Hickman Presbyterian Church, Nebraska, USA

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