Sunday Service | 3 May | Social Network : John 10.1-10

Jesus you have cold come follow take up you cry did Oh [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] you

like people will you lead yourself when you raise the most you don’t lie for chart instead will you let me we need if I boot : I had a bit when you quell to reshape through my side detergents and no you summon sacred stream let me turn it for you good morning and a very warm welcome to Ellen parish church this morning my name is Alastair Bruce now and the minister here in Allen parish church as you can see we’re outside still once again and we’re not able to join together as the church family and one place because of the coronavirus situation that we’re going through at the moment but we’re delighted that you that we can bring worship to you in this way it’s wonderful the technology that we have to bring the community together and to still have a shared worship experience even if that’s in our own homes I hope that you’ve had reasonable week I hope that your week has been okay I hope that you’re keeping well and that you’re keeping safe we’ve we of course had our usual worship events throughout the week we’ve had Peter looking at the Bible on weddings who have had Rachel and Tuesday and Thursday doing during her sung worship and in fact was picked up on Tuesday evening I think it was and by the Church of Scotland who hosted a watch party and for for that time of worship which was lovely and I’ve had emails in from all over the place I even had tell me how wonderful it was I even had an email from a retreat center in Wales and who were blessed by what take what Rachel was doing so one end of the country to the other so it’s wonderful the way that we can bring folks together in worship in this way we are of course still concerned to make sure that those who aren’t able to access the online worship are still able to to feel part

of the community and we’re giving a DVDs I think 25 or 26 folks are getting the DVDs and over the service so if you’re watching on DVD then then you’re most welcome as well thank you for joining in that that way and thanks to Bill and Maureen for all of their hard work with with putting all of that together and driving running the place and delivering them to those those folks and there’s a we’re still sending out the email newsletter a bridge supplement every every week and folks are phoning around their neighborhoods just seeing how folks are doing and praying with people and it’s and it’s wonderful to know that that’s where that’s happening and bringing a bit of light into into folks lives if there’s anybody that you know of who is who is needing a bit of support and a bit of care then then please let us know and we’ll have endeavor to make sure that they are cared for you’ll have seen at the start of the service as as as those kind of waiting screens were up that and there’s some numbers there and information about you to get in touch with to do with pastoral care I have an MF you get in touch with Janet or myself then we’ll be able to point you in the right directions or provide the care here and ourselves for you and you’ll also have noticed at the start of the service that we put up some information about about how to give of course we’re delighted that people give through their standing orders through direct debits every month in the bank and we’re so grateful for that and that keeps a lot of the work going in Allen parish church and the ministries going in our and parish church but of course we’re because we’re not meeting together we’re not taking up and offering every week so those folks who normally give in that way through the plate or through their envelopes aren’t able to give em in that way and and of course there are people watching from all over they were all over the place as well and so if you would like to give and of course there’s no ordinance on you to to give but if you would like to donate to the work of Allen parish church and then then you can you can follow some of the links that are some of the the website addresses that Sam that was there at the start and you can text Andy or give Andy a phone or an email and he’s our treasurer and he can point me in the right direction of how to how to donate and there’s a donate button on our Facebook page as well so if you’d like to donate in that then feel free to do that and we’re grateful that for for all of the work that folks are doing for all the donations that the people people give but we are missing some of those because the Kirk Center is shut where we have no revenue from that at all so that revenue stream is basically cut off for the moment we’re not you’re paying out for lighting and heating and all those kind of things but we’re not taking in any money either and so in order to fund things like basics burn our food a food bank and to keep paying our our those folks that we employ locally either who is our administrator and Rachel who is our director of music we we need to of course have a certain amount of money to have turnover for that so way and so if you would like to donate in any way again there’s no onus on you to do that then but if you would like to think the information is there and the buttons are they are on Facebook that you can you can do that we are we’re in the middle of as Sarah my series leading up to Pentecost that we’re calling his social network where of course I’m separated at the moment and we can come together but we are still together as a church community and this this way and so we still kind of have this network of stuff going on it so we’re looking at how Jesus built they built the church and what Jesus did to draw the community together and what what that community looks like and how it’s built and and who we interact with each other assault so we’re in the midst of that and we’ll be on that subject until Pentecost which is of course well often recall the birthday of the church it’s the time that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and there and and the church you know started and so we’re we’re working our way through that and the moment we’re thinking a little bit about shepherds and sheep and hearing God’s voice at this morning and so I let’s just take a wee moment while we still our hearts have little worship God holy God as your son is the one who calls us into the fold welcomed us receive our stumbling and our fears

receive our responses and our worship and so I hand on over to Amy who is going to bring for us are our children’s Bible story and this week it’s about shepherds and about sheep and it’s rare for the adult story a Bible passage and the children’s Bible passage too to match up we do that at the high days and holidays and not often does it work that those two match up in the service as well so we’re delighted that that’s that’s happened today so I’ll pass on over to Amy for our children’s a Bible story Amy it’s time for our Bible story and today’s Bible story is called the lost sheep wherever Jesus went there were clouds and the clouds there were good people and bad people too they wanted to see what Jesus did they wanted to hear what he said many people love Jesus but some people grumbled Jesus is friends with a lot of bad people he goes to parties and that’s not raped say it some of them Jesus heard them and he told them this story once upon a time a man was counting his sheep he had a hundred sheep and he was their Shepherd because he had a hundred sheep took him a long time to count them one two three four ten twenty thirty forty ninety-eight ninety-nine there should be a hundred number 100 was messin huh he had 99 sheep left do you think you minded that one was lost he sure did them Shepherd went out to look for the one lost sheep he looked and he listened he listened and he looked but he didn’t find the sheep but he kept on looking at last he heard a tiny sound he followed the sound and there was his sheep he gave a big hug then he picked the sheep up bitter on his shoulders and carried it all the way home when he got back home he rushed and say to say to his family I found the Sheep I found the sheep I’m so happy we went to a big party to celebrate because my sheep was lost but then I found it again everyone who is listening to Jesus story smiled this story had a happy ending then Jesus turned to the grumblers and said a few these are sheep aren’t you glad to find it again when someone in trouble comes back to God God is happy too God doesn’t want anyone to be lost Jesus talked some more about sheep and the shepherds who looks after them a Good Shepherd knows each one of her sheep and they know his voice the Sheep will follow the shepherd but they will run away from strangers then jesus said I am The Good Shepherd I know my sheep and my sheep know me if a fierce wild animal comes to hurt the Sheep jesus said a Good Shepherd would fight it off and send it away a Good Shepherd never runs away then Jesus said I am The Good Shepherd I will die for my sheep to keep them safe and we know that Jesus did die to keep us safe and to forgive us from our sins Oh shall we say a little prayer together can you put your hands on your shoulders can you put your hands on your head can you put your hands on your nose yeah can you put your hands together ready dear lord thank you that you are the Good Shepherd and you always look after us your sheep thank you that you never leave us and you care for us so so much and I shall be see this special family

prayer together our Father who is in heaven hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors we does not into temptation but deliver us from evil for yours is the kingdom the power and the glory forever and ever I trust you I just you you follow Jesus I just I trust you at the moon shake shake thanks break break you are my rock my everything is the world shake shake things break break you are my shake shake the world shake shake right break break bring bring bring would shake shake things break break you are my rock my everything with the will shake shake you are my rock my everything you are my everything shake thank you Amy and thank you Rachel and thank you to our young folks for all of those actions weren’t they amazing doing is doing all of that so there are no activities on for our young folks of a ship related variety and so if you would like to head on over and do some of those activities with Nicola or with Pam then you can head on over to the Ellen parish church cardboard cafe Facebook page where neckla will meet you and if you’re not a member of the allan parish church cardboard cafe page facebook page then then you can ask to join and a necklace or Pam or myself will endeavor to approve here and then you can get involved in those activities if the the streamer of that will stay up for for the rest of the day or for longer than that so if you’re able to join just now where you miss some of that then you can go back and look at that that again and Pam is going to host a zoom chat with some of our older younger people over on on zoom and and

the information is is has been given out for that and is in the thread as well when I sit down to have a look at the part of the Bible that we’re using for the basis of our worship in any given week I normally read a few books written by a Bible academics and a couple of relevant websites this week one of the bits I read give a little bit of background into the life of a sheep it’s all the things you read sometimes in academic books anyway the writer gave three insights into the life of a sheet that sheep that they thought were relevant to the birth of the Bible that we’re going to look at this morning the first bit of info was that in the biblical world the life of a sheep was a dangerous one thieves and robbers were always looking to take sheep away from the flock and so if the sheep was part of a flock or an enclosed group then they generally would be safer and having a good shepherd to look after them was crucial to that the second we insight was that sheep of all ages apparently found out hard to survive when they’re enclosed in a sheep pen we tend to go stir-crazy when are not allowed to roam out in the fields claimed hills and graze on newly grown juicy bits of grass and a third bit of enlightenment from the writer was about sheeps life is mostly that a sheeps life is made up of mostly eating and finding sustenance and they basically do the same thing every day so in short sheep have some sense of danger out there they find a heart to be cooked up in their pain all the time and their life is about eating and they do the same thing every day and so these three bits of knowledge brought me to another realization this Locke thing has turned us all into sheep we have some sense that there’s danger out there we’re going stir-crazy because we’re cooped up pains well hoses and we spend all day eating and we do the same thing each and every day which doesn’t really seemed particularly like an exciting length and so is this really what we’re called to even in the midst of lockdown this kind of fearful insular eat all the biscuits in the house kind of life well actually that’s pretty much the opposite of how Jesus describes life as part of his community and so Anthony is going to come and know and read what Jesus has to say about that night Anthony John’s Gospel chapter 10 the first 10 verses the Good Shepherd and his sheep very truly I tell you Pharisees anyone who does not enter the Sheep by the gate but climbs in by some other way is a thief and a robber the one who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of the Sheep the gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out when he has brought out all his own he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice but they will never follow a stranger in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice Jesus used this figure of speech but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them jesus said again very truly I tell you I

am the gate for the Sheep all who have come before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep have not listened to them I am the gate whoever enters through me will be saved they will come in and go out and find pasture the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy I have come that they may have life and have it to the fool thanks be to God for His Word Thank You Anthony as many of you know I grew up in a town called Dalkeith which is on the south side of Edinburgh which is not exactly rural idyll it’s a it may have been 50 or so years ago but not now certainly not the last time that I visited and so I didn’t grow up particularly near farms or farmers I knew of rural stuff down in East Lothian but but nothing really rained about where Dalkeith was and so I don’t really have an awful lot of knowledge of that kind of culture or how that sort of a culture works even although I have know married to a farmer’s daughter I still don’t know an awful lot about farming life and picking up various things and but I don’t know an awful lot I have found out certain things over the years both by visiting the farm that Nicola grew up on that’s now run by by her brothers as a sort of sideline to their normal job and I’ve picked up a certain amount in general knowledge and general background reading and what I’ve picked up is that there are some similarities in sheep farming nowadays as there was to sheep farming in the Middle East in the first century when it was that Jesus lived the the writer bill donohue tells of a lesson that he learned while visiting a farm where two of his students lived when their father Tom asked if bill would help call in the Sheep bill enthusiastically agreed sheep calling was like preaching he thought as he watched the 25 sheep grazing out there go ahead tom dear bill call them in and what do you see bill asked well I just see these sheep morning no sweat bill thought a city kid with a bad back and hay fever he could do this he began speaking but from interrupted you are 75 yards away day wind and they have their backs to you yeah use your diaphragm likely teacher in preaching class so bill took a deep breath could every inch of his stomach muscle into a yell that revival preachers around the world would envy hey sheep come on in and the Blessed creatures didn’t move no one even turned an ear well no sheep even turned an ear finally Tom smiled sarcastically did they teach you the Bible in that seminary have you ever read my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me so Tom and raising his voice only slightly said hey sheep come on in and all twenty-five she turned and ambled towards Tom you see it seems that sheep know who their Shepherd is similarly to the rural Midwest of the u.s. or an Aberdeen sure in rural Judea shepherds we have looked after a flock of sheep and so they would have had a very close relationship with them because they’d spend most of most hours of the day in their company and so they would learn their individual character inter-individual traits their characters their markings their likes and their dislikes and in turn the sheep would know their Shepherd as well especially their Shepherd’s voice in fact even to this day and the Middle East a shepherd can go into a crowded sheep fold and call his or her own sheep and they will come equally if someone the Dorner goes into the sheepfold even if they call a sheep by the chutes the sheep will ignore them the sheep won’t come so it seems very clearly the Sheep recognized the voice of the shepherd they recognized the voice of the one who cares for them and the one who feeds them the one who protects them

and the one who nurtures them and so I wonder what voice have you been hearing in the last few weeks I wonder if you’ve been listening for God’s voice to speak to you and you try to navigate your way through this current coronavirus a situation that we’re currently in I wonder if you’ve been trying to hear a voice that will tell you what decisions you need to make to support your family but a voice that will tell you what decisions you need to make in your financial situation or a voice that will reassure you that things will be well with those who are closest to you and those who you love actually think that listening of for God’s voice is something that we all do even people that don’t profess to have faith and still think that they look for our voice of reassurance and they would love to hear God’s voice I’ve certainly prayed and asked for God to speak to me especially in big decisions and so far he’s never really spoken to me in a clear audible voice which is pretty frustrating most of the tank to be perfectly honest but over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that this probably isn’t how God speaks to most of us in the evening after a I’ve read Daniel and James their bedtime stories and after we’ve done our thank-yous for the day we tend to listen to a couple of songs and that will help the boys get to sleep and for the last six months or so the playlist has started with a song by the singer Steven Curtis Chapman called the sound of your voice in an interview explaining the background to the song he said that he has prayed over and over again asking to hear God’s voice asking God to speak audibly so that he could hear the answers to all sorts of questions through questions about what decisions he should make in his life to bigger questions about why these terrible things happen in the world he says that on this on one particular day he he as he prayed he felt as he prayed once he came to hear God’s voice he felt God saying to him I’m speaking to you if you’ll just listen and if you listen you’ll hear the sound of my voice and everything that’s going on around about you and the voices of your friends and the voices of people in need and speaking through that and the opportunities that you have to be involved in their lives he goes on to say that he wrote their song as a prayer to help him to listen with the right kind of ears to hear God speaking to him as there’s a whole lot of the world that can drown out God’s voice you see I think that through this situation that we’re finding ourselves and we are hearing God’s voice now they were hearing his voice speaking to us through the folks in our neighborhoods who are asking for support we’re hearing God’s voice through our community as they offer help and support to those who are needing simple things like prescriptions and shopping and I think that where the the the people who are in need of support are hearing God’s voice is speaking to them through phone calls and through offers of prayer and through the chats about the beautiful mundane things of life that can lift a person’s soul from despair but I also think we’re hearing God’s voice in intensive care units and care homes and hospital wards and in shops and I think that we’re hearing God’s voice speaking to us about a world that can’t go back to the way that it was before a world that needs to value actual lives over the amount of money that they can bring to our economy a world that needs to cultivate relationships and world that needs to bring justice to those who are in greatest need and I think that the more we know God the more we spend time in his presence the more we become one of his flock and truly one of his flock the more we start to recognize what it is that God’s voice sound like the sailors lake and the more we’ll hear God’s voice and all of those things but there’s something else about shepherds and the middle east that’s interesting once the Sheep know the voice of the shepherd the Shepherd is able to lead the sheep in the Middle East they don’t need to use sheepdogs rounding them up or quadbikes

driving them from behind they called the Sheep and knowing the Shepherd’s voice the Sheep follow and so it seems to be through caring for them protecting them nurturing them and spending time with them that the Sheep then follow the Shepherd willingly you see the clear claim of Christianity is that God who made the universe who is all-powerful came to the world as a human man called Jesus and as he lived on earth he cared for people he healed people he nurtured them he spent time with them and ultimately he protected them and us by giving up his life on the cross and he did that to bring us back into that relationship with him that we weren’t able to have before because of our own arrogance and greed and vengeance and selfishness our own habit of breaking the peace and the wholeness they used to exist in the world the word that we use for that is the Shalom the peace and wholeness that existed in the world this act of complete love on the cross to free us from the guilt of all of the stuff that we do wrong is one of the reasons why people choose to follow Jesus this is the life that Jesus calls us into one that is free from the guilt of the past this is why he says at the end of this passage they have come that they may have life and have it abundantly and so maybe on the surface of it La Coruna has turned us into sheep having that sense of danger they are being cooped up in our pains while our houses and spending all day eating and doing the same thing day after day but I think actually we were sheep all along it’s just that the sheep that follow and recognized Jesus the Shepherd’s voice don’t have to live this kind of fearful insurer eat all the biscuits in the house kind of life we can be hearing the Shepherd’s voice and helping other people we can be safe in the knowledge that God’s strength is bigger than the coronavirus we can be spending time getting to know the Shepherd through prayer and hearing Scripture and through worship and all of the opportunities that we put on as a church throughout the week we can be safe in a knowledge that God’s love can cast out every fear in the world if we let him lead us and we follow so my prayer is that you hear God’s voice this week and that you would choose to follow the Shepherd’s voice into this full life there’s waiting for you let’s pray together loving God we thank you that you are the Shepherd to our flock that you protect us that you care for us and that as your sheep we can get to know your voice leading us into our life of abundance a life of freedom a life free from guilt and pain of the past so loving God may we hear your voice this week as we go about whatever we have to do this week may we hear your voice speaking to us in all sorts of different ways in Jesus name we pray and if you hear God’s voice if you’re aware of God’s voice in all of the different ways that he speaks to us and then please let us know and you can drop us an email or a lane or something something into the Empire search Facebook or just comment on the thread below I’ve put some links into the into the thread as well that will give you a link to this song that I mentioned from Steven Curtis Chapman and a link to the wee bit of interview that I mentioned and but let’s continue worshiping our Shepherd God through singing the Great Spirit I named him the Lord’s my shepherd

it’s [Applause] I will as we come to our time for prayer there is something that is worth speaking a bit about normally during our services before COBIT 19:00 we would have a prayer dedication for the offerings that were given in person that day as well as the donations given outlined during the lockdown we have obviously not been taking in-person collections as many people do already have standing orders or direct debits set up we’ve continued to dedicate those offerings in the prayers that we’ve done in our Sunday services however one of the consequences of not having in-person collections is again pretty obvious that we like churches all over the world are bringing in less money to support the work that we’re still doing combine that with the closing of our church building and our holes means that we’re also not taking in money for the lettings to these groups we know that this is a difficult time for many people and many of your jobs are insecure at best we also are aware that many people give in-person donations because setting things up online can be challenging or even scary and we do understand so having said all this I would like to point out a few ways that you can contribute to the work that we’re still doing if you feel able to do that we’re not only providing the service on Sundays but many other things online throughout the week that you’ve probably seen we’re doing stuff for kids we’re doing Estoril care through our neighborhoods of care food and necessities are given out to basics bar we’re still providing funerals for families and other things that our church is still doing during the lockdown our work is continuing and despite our incomes significantly decreasing if you do not have a standing order or a directive already set up we would like to give a one-off donation there is a button on the main page of our facebook that says pretty clearly

donate you can click there and follow the instructions or you can get in touch directly with our treasurer Andy Bruce who can help set things up for you and in a really safe and secure way his details were almost slides at the beginning servus who will appear once again at the end or alternately once the premiere has finished you can watch this video back as many times as you need and pause it and get the information easily that way thank you so much for your support as we try to continue to spread the good news of Jesus with meaningful witness so let us pray for our world and dedicate those offerings that have been given let us pray O Lord our Shepard in God come close to us now come near to us in our time of need Shepard in God we need you in our time of anxiety we need you in our time of economic uncertainty we need you in a time of globe-trotting disease we need you to bind our wounds and pour your healing ointment on our heads we need the briars and brambles and birds pulled out of our fleece and skin Shepard in God you guide us with your voice help us to listen and follow no matter where your voice leads help us to trusty Shepard and God protect us from the hired hands that do not really care for us and have neglected or abused us in the past Shepard and God thank you for your son who laid down his life for all people of all nations that we all might be saved Shepard in God guide us into the uncertain future we dedicate to you now all the gifts and offerings received by the church whether online were in physical gifts of food and basics for distribution to our community in need let these gifts be a blessing through us to those around us shepherding god renew us guide us with your love and renew us with your peace amen now let us sing together our next hymn hymn 519 love divine all loves excelling

Thank You Rachel and thank you to the choir for joining in with our worship this morning as well it’s lovely to see some some of our choir faces managing to work the technology into and to have the voice to be able to join in without such wonderful a it’s tough to see all of that that happening remember that this week we have our zoom coffee morning again on Thursday at 11 o’clock and look out for the advertising on Facebook about that or in the order of service to I have last week we had our zoom coffees and they and I set a question about what the highlight of the week was and we kind of passed that question around so it was lovely to hear what folks we’re seeing and so we’ll set another question this time and so that we can we can have a good chat and hear what folks have been up to this week I’m also on that’s on Thursday on where density after the Bible pondering that Peter is doing will host a zoom chat for if we’re can a half an hour and just on that subject so if you’d like to come along to that then on Wednesday just after the Bible pondering there will be that chat as well and and so the IDs and all of that stuff will be on face book so have a look for that too and remember to to stick there on any comments or anything that you want to say to encourage folks and to or to engage in any discussion on what we’ve looked at this morning and we love to hear from from you and love to to join in in that wee bit of chat just after this after the service we can’t we can’t have coffee together but it but it’s good to be able to join in in that kind of way so the Shepherd knows us the Shepherd calls us in and sends us out to love and serve the waiting world and the blessing of God Almighty the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and all who you love they stay on forever more I mean she was deep she was deep yes

you [Applause] [Applause] you you