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Sunday, December 29, 2013

"In Between" by Geoff Thompson

Below is the message and order of service  I brought to The Parkrose Nursing Home on 29/12/13.

Order of Service 291213

Call to worship  Geoff

Psalm 95:1-7

Hymns 58     This is my Father’s world
            529  All Things Bright and beautiful

Announcements:  Dean

Prayer:  Geoff

Reading:  Ephesians 1:3-10

Hymn 96 Never in a human story was a sight so wondrous seen.

Hymn     28  Great is thy faithfulness.

Message:   “In between”  Geoff

Hymn  586  I know not why God’s wondrous grace


Vesper   A new commandment I give unto you.


Call to worship
Psalm 95
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.
Scripture Reading:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.


At this time of the year we are about to see off the current year and welcome the next.
It is a time between Christmas and New Year for reflection.

Reflection on what has just gone by in the last 12 months, or even longer than that and what is just around the corner.

What does the future hold?

In the last 12 months we may have experienced some wonderful moments.
We may have been through some heartache.

We may have lost a loved relative or friend.

We may have had the joy of seeing a cherished son or daughter or granddaughter get married.

We may have seen the arrival of new babies in the family.

There may have been wonderful birthday celebrations.

Our emotions have been up and down and all over the place.

We may have struggled with continuing ill health.

Our Bible reading tells us if we are Christians,

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

There will have been times in the last 12 months where we have certainly felt blessed but times when probably we haven’t .

The hardest thing of course is losing someone we loved dearly.

We may still be grieving.

Jesus is still grieving with us and wanting to comfort us.

What lies ahead in the new year?

More than likely more of the same we have just experienced this year.

Of course we are always kept up to date with all the latest disasters and atrocities if we watch the news or read the papers.
That is usually interspersed with some feel good stories.

A Christian Minister we learned much from once said he was, as he got older and more mature in his faith, able to look back on each year and say that it was better than the year before.

I can’t say I have had that experience very often.

I have personally known some very dark times with depression in particular.

Looking back on this year in many ways it has been overall, a great year for Lesley and I but you never know what’s around the corner.

Two days ago we found our favourite cat,”little Cat” we call him,(he’s anything but that) had broken his back leg in 2 places.

We were given a choice.

Amputate his leg or do corrective surgery.

We will be going ahead with the surgery.

This Monday in fact.

Our pets can be such a blessing and we grieve much when we lose them or can no longer care for them.

One young woman across the road has dubbed “Little Cat” as “The Captain of Clement Street” such is his popularity with everyone in the street.

I digress a little.

So what was the minister on about?

He wan’t discounting all those things that are bound to happen to all of us one way or another.

In fact this same Minister in his later years became bed ridden after suffering a stroke and lost his ability to speak properly.

Amazingly he could still say the Lord’s prayer fluently.

He could also sing Hymns.

But normal speech had deserted him.

He still had an amazing smile though.

He was talking about how if we continue to grow in our relationship with God, as we spend genuine time with Jesus each day,

He is the source of Joy and Peace.

We were in Renmark last weekend and Lesley just about bought out the local Christian bookshop.

She bought back this amazing wall plaque or sign.


It says much about the concept of knowing not what the future holds but  knowing who holds the future.

He holds us in the palm of His hand.

We have a favourite Fridge magnet also which we sometimes share with others.

It goes like this.

“I was regretting the past
      and fearing the future
Suddenly the Lord was speaking:


He paused.

I waited.

He continued.

“When you live in the past
    with its mistakes and regrets,
    it is hard.

I am not there.

My name is not I WAS!

When you live in the future, with its problems  and fears, it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE!

When you live in this moment,
It is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM”

We may think

“that’s all very well for you to say but you don’t know how hard it is for me at this moment.”

I don’t of course.

But  Jesus , the God of all the universe, He does .

He knows your circumstances.

He knows our circumstances.

He loves each one of us individually.

By His death and resurrection he made it possible for us to know eternal forgiveness from our sins.

Possible to know assurance of having a place prepared for us when we pass out of this life to the next.

We may not  have arrived yet, as fully fledged mature Christians on top of everything.

In fact that is a lifetime process and we should be wanting to grow as Christians to the very end.

I read these words the other day as attributed to John Newton who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”

It I think encapsulates the experience we all have as growing Christians.

It sounds a lot like someone “In Between”

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”

We will sing our closing Hymn

1.  I know not why God’s wondrous grace
  To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
  Redeemed me for His own.
o   But “I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
  Unto Him against that day.”
2.  I know not how this saving faith
  To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His word
  Wrought peace within my heart.
4.  I know not what of good or ill
  May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
  Before His face I see.
5.  I know not when my Lord may come,
  At night or noon-day fair,
Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,
  Or “meet Him in the air.”


A new commandment
I give unto you
That you love one another
  As I have loved you,
That you love one another
  As I have loved you.
    By this shall all men
    Know you are My disciples
    If you have love one to another.

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