October 16, 2021

Order of Service and Notices 17-10-2021

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

CALL TO WORSHIP
WELCOME
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
PRAYER

TIS 134 Praise My Soul the King of heaven  

SERVICE OF THE WORD

READINGS Job 38:1-7; Hebrews 5:7-10

TIS 129 Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound  

CHILDREN TIME

SERMON: Creator and Creation
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

JOYS AND CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
NOTICES – OFFERTORY

TIS 590 What a Friend We Have in Jesus

BENEDICTION God Be with You (v. 2)

NOTICES:

Prayer Topics

1. Leighmoor Uniting Church
2. Protection for Families and Friends
3. Healing for The Sick & People Who Are in Need
4. Peace, Unity, and Justice in Nations
5. Culture of Discipleship
6. Protection from Violence, Racism, and Abuse
7. Pray for Environment & Sustainability
8. Prayers around COVID & Across Australia
9. Care and recovery of each part of God’s creation
10. Climate Action

Climate Action Day: 17th October
Whilst on Zoom after the Sunday Service

Sunday School: Break during lockdown

Messy Church: Postponed until it can be safely managed

Collection of Favorite Hymns for Hymn Service (Oct)
(Notify Heeyoung by phone, email, text message or paper)

Who wants to be a Millionaire? 10-10-2021

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? Gospel of Mark 10: 17-31 Homily by Geoff Serpell
Whether you like it or not most of us have reached that lofty pinnacle through the prices of real estate going through the roof. The home Jan and I live in is worthless for rate valuation, but the site has escalated from $1500 which I paid around 1958 to be valued at $1.1k today. The improvements, that is the house, workshop and doghouse will all be demolished on our demise, so they are valued at zero.
As a family during the second world war, we were quite poor. Whilst Dad was posted away in the RAAF, Mum, sister, and I lived behind a shop front in Surrey Hills where Mum taught violin to pupils to cover the cost of bread on our table each day.
Pocket money was scarce as a kid. On a few visits to grandma who lived in Sale, Gippsland, my sister and I would scout around the town paddocks collecting empty beer bottles, which recycled would earn us four pennies for every dozen. It was a thirsty town during and just after the War, so we earned enough to buy fishing tackle and ice blocks. Millionaires’ we kids were, well, for a few days anyway.
Gifted a beach house to live in at Sandringham by our grandparents, Mum and Dad got by, but the luxuries did not come easily and then only by inheritance when the Sale grandmother died.
So, at this stage I had better remind you just how privileged we then were and now are. As members of the first world, we have shelter and clothing and running water and medical care and superannuation and books and furniture and many other possessions, even an electric bike. You need no reminder that many people around the world have little or none of these things. I should urge you to think about how you could help other people share in this privilege. This would be a reasonable thing to do.
However, I am not a reasonable person, and we are not reasonable people. We are disciples of Jesus, a most unreasonable man, who views the world in topsy-turvy terms and tries to show us the world through his eyes. He did it again in today’s gospel reading, A man who owned many fields and other possessions came up to Jesus and asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus looked at him, & loved him, and said, “Go sell what you own, give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
When the man heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving. Maybe he went and sulked in his grand old house, called in the accountant, and checked through his rental books. Maybe he made himself a stiff coffee: the story does not say so. Instead, we are told that Jesus turned to his disciples and said:” How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God”.
Notice what Jesus did not say. He did not describe the wealthy landowner as privileged. He didn’t tell him to be grateful, and to find ways to share in this privilege. Instead, he told him to get rid of his wealth, because only then would he be free to follow Jesus. When Jesu said this, his disciples were perplexed. We all know how privileged the rich are, we are. We all know that we are blessed. How can it be difficult for us to enter the kingdom?
Maybe riches do prevent us from entering the kingdom, or the culture of God. We can forget just how interconnected and dependent we all are, Wealth insulates us from knowing our need of others and our need of God. Wealth gives us the illusion of control over our lives, and of our futures. It makes it hard to learn to trust in God’s provision. Wealth can make us blind to the needs of others and blunts our compassion.
As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, we realize that wearing a $3,000 or $30.00 watch, makes no difference as they both tell the same time. Whether we carry a $300 or $30.0 wallet or handbag, the amount of money inside is the same. Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $10 wine, the hangover is the same. Whether the house we live in is 300 or 3000 sq metres, loneliness is the same. You will realize, your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world.
Whether you fly first, business or economy class, you all land at the same time. We need to educate our children to be happy, not rich. When they grow up, they will know the value of things, not the price. You are loved when you are born and loved when you die. In between, you must manage. The six best doctors in the world are: – Sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence, and friends. So, maintain them in all stages of life and enjoy a healthy life.
We can be insulated from other’s needs, being complacent, comfortable, and secure. When approached it is easy to direct the needy to government or welfare or to lifelines. God demands that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and love each other. This in real and material ways.
A friend from the Victorian Welsh choir sent me something I have treasured and now share with you. It is a story of a wealthy man and his son who loved to collect rare works of art. In the collection were included masters from all round the world.
Making a long story short, the son was called up for duty in Vietnam where he died saving the life of a fellow soldier. This soldier later knocked on the mate’s father’s door and handed him a picture he had painted of the wealthy man’s son. This picture of the deceased son was the pride and joy among the whole gallery of paintings, at the father’s home.
Later the father also died and later still a great auction of all the paintings was arranged. Influential people flocked to the auction and were firstly shown the portrait of the late son.
“Who will bid for the picture of the son?” the auctioneer asked. Deathly silence. “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one”: said a voice from the back of the hall.
It was a long time before a voice came, being from the long-time gardener of the man and his son. $10 was the bid. No one else spoke. Sold for $10 called the auctioneer and then he closed down the auction.
Amid uproar, it was stated that whoever bought the painting of the son would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.
“The gardener who took the son’s portrait gets everything!”
God gave His son over 2000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?” Because you see. Whoever takes the Son gets everything!
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, who so ever believeth, shall have eternal life. That is love.
I received a treasured email from a cousin now living in the USA who divorced her husband of some 40 years and is now married to a centenarian. This about the “Mayonnaise Jar”.
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee. A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. Class began in silence as he filled the mayonnaise jar with golf balls. The students agreed that the glass was full.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar and the pebbles rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. Was the jar now full? Yes.
Now came a box of sand and it got poured into the jar. Was the jar now full? Yes. The professor then produced two cups of coffee and poured them into the jar. After the laughter died down the professor said: “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life”.
The golf balls are the important things including God, family, health, friends, and favourite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car whilst the sand is everything else-the small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the golf balls or the pebbles. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for things that matter most.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children, take time to get medical check-ups and take your partner out to dinner [when you are allowed]. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.
Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set priorities because the rest is just sand.
One student asked what the coffee represented, and the professor replied: – “It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend”
In the words of Rev. J Barr from Blacktown, Sydney in “From Love to the World”, the rich rewards we are to inherit from God come in a commitment to faithful, sacrificial living in which the call to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and be the persons Jesus calls us to be, that is the number one priority.
May our prayer be: “Jesus, teacher, give me the humility, courage, and confidence to follow your teachings today and every day”.

Geoff Serpell, 10 October 2021.

Order of Service and Notices 10-10-2021

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

CALL TO WORSHIP [Psalm 22: 25-31 respons.]
WELCOME
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
PRAYER

TIS 560 [11] “All my Hope on God is Founded”

SERVICE OF THE WORD

READINGS Mark 10:17-31

TIS 650 “Brother, Sister, let me serve you”

CHILDREN TIME: “When I’m feeling Disappointed”

SERMON: Who wants to be a Millionaire?
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

JOYS AND CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
NOTICES – OFFERTORY

TIS 599[11] “Take my life and let it be”

BENEDICTION God Be with You (v. 1)

NOTICES:

Prayer Topics

1. Leighmoor Uniting Church
2. Protection for Families and Friends
3. Healing for The Sick & People Who Are in Need
4. Peace, Unity, and Justice in Nations
5. Culture of Discipleship
6. Protection from Violence, Racism, and Abuse
7. Pray for Environment & Sustainability
8. Prayers around COVID & Across Australia
9. For the People of Afghanistan
10. Care and recovery of each part of God’s creation

Sunday School: Break during lockdown

Messy Church: Postponed until it can be safely managed

Collection of Favorite Hymns for Hymn Service (Oct)
(Notify Heeyoung by phone, email, text message or paper)

Heeyoung’s Annual Leave: From 28th Sep to 11th Oct
(10 Working Days, Sunday Service: 3rd Oct & 10th Oct)

Becoming as Children 03-10-2021

Becoming as children. – Homily by Geoff Serpell
19th Sunday after Pentecost
[Scripture Reading: Mark 10: 2-16]
I am really pleased to have been invited to lead today’s service, having been out to grass as a lay preacher for such a long time due to this pandemic.
I had to scratch my head when I studied the set topic for today, but although challenging, I hope we all get something beneficial from my presentation.
Today’s passage from the gospel of Mark is about the ethics of divorce. Many of our relatives, friends, including at least one Uniting Church Minster and indeed two of our sons have been through this painful experience. My father was married four times and went through one divorce. With one of our sons the divorce came after thirty years of marriage.
What I hope to present to you is a fuller understanding of what Jesus said about the law down through the centuries and wrap up with the status of children and same gender relationships in the view of our church.
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, reveals that in 2019, 113,815 marriages were registered, and 49,116 divorces were granted in Australia. The number of same sex marriages was 5,507 which represents about 5% of all marriages in Australia mostly performed by civil celebrants. Almost one half of all marriages end in divorce.
Let me go back to the Gospel of Mark where several passages are duplicated in Matthew. Jesus is replying to a trick question posed by the Pharisees, the largest Jewish sect regarded as hard-hearted legalists and noted for self-conceit and long prayers. They were in Judea, the Kingdom of Herod. The question of the Pharisees was hostile. It was for unlawful divorce and remarriage that John the Baptist denounced Herod Antipas and Herodias. Herodias had been married to Herod’s brother but left him for Antipas. This rebuke cost John first imprisonment and then his life. Jesus was now in Herod’s jurisdiction, and the pharisees hoped that Jesus’ reply would cause those in authority to seize him as they had John.
The Uniting Church Minister, Rev. David Beswick, believes that Moses, reflecting the loving kindness and compassion of God, allowed women a right of remarriage. Without this, a wife could be a slave to her husband or, without him, an outcast from society.
I n his response to the Pharisees, Jesus gave a higher meaning to the loving kindness of God. We humans were made male and female for each other and in fulfilling our potential to become God’s children, we should recognize and honour that gift by living faithfully and reflecting God’s love in the way we relate to one another.
Jesus’ reply is saying that if you treat something like marriage as just a set of laws to be complied with, then you have missed the whole point of what God is on about. Jesus is not making a blanket condemnation of all divorced people at all. Rather, he is criticizing religious teachers who exploit the law to maintain their own veneer of righteousness while behaving abusively towards their wives and children.
Jesus was not so much the opponent of divorce as the champion of women. At that time a Jewish man could divorce his wife for the most trivial of reasons when the discarded woman and their children could be left without means of support.
Our Bible passage now passes on to the disciples trying to stop people bothering Jesus with requests for him to bless the children, so Jesus rebukes them and welcomes the children, telling the disciples that unless they receive the kingdom of God like a little child, they will never enter it.
We should realize that it is God who calls the shots, who reigns on high, so we can relax and put our trust in God’s gracious leadership. We should not try to exalt male over female, or white over black, or rich over poor, or citizen over refugee by victimizing those we designate as lower. We need to find our common sisterhood and brotherhood with one another and with Christ, finding our place as fellow children of the one God. May we choose to honour the leadership of those who are clearly from a position of submission to Christ and stand against those who would usurp Christ’s lordship and attempt to lead us on an opposing path.
In a world where there are always arrogant fools getting themselves elected or seizing power by force, do not despair for the fate of the world lies not in their hands but in the hands of the one who rules overall, and who humbly offers his life for all. To him be all majesty and authority, dominion, and power, both now and always.
Uniting Church National Assembly resolutions: Marriage and Divorce: July 1997
In the case of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, the Church acknowledges that divorce may be the only creative and life-giving direction to take.
The Church has a responsibility to:
[a] care for people, including children, through the trauma of the ending of a marriage;
[b] help people to grieve, repent, grow in self-understanding, receive affirmation, grace and forgiveness;
[c] support them as they hear God’s call for a new life.
The grace and healing of God are available to people who are divorced, which may free them to marry again.

Uniting church Victorian Synod in 1999 resolved: –
To call upon each member of the Church, when engaged in conversation regarding sexual orientation, to recognize the following: –
[a] All people, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual are loved children of a loving God;
[b] Christians are called to reflect this love in their dealings with one another.
[c] Christians should not vilify others, either individually or collectively, because of their sexual orientation and
[d] Similarly, Christians should not vilify people of differing theologies.
16th Assembly: B11 National Safe church Unit
This was established in 2019 as a response by Uca to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
This is to ensure that all parts of the UCA are places where all people can feel safe. In 2020, the Unit provided a suite of resources to strengthen our culture of safety.
Geoff Serpell
3 October 2021

Order of Service and Notices 03-10-2021

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

CALL TO WORSHIP [Psalm 96: 1-4 respons.]
WELCOME
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
PRAYER

TIS 693 Come as You Are

SERVICE OF THE WORD

READINGS Mark 10:2-16

TIS 717 Give Thanks

CHILDREN TIME: “When I’m feeling Happy”

SERMON: Becoming as Children
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

JOYS AND CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
NOTICES – OFFERTORY

SRC 1311 In Christ Alone

BENEDICTION God Be with You (v. 4)

NOTICES:

Prayer Topics

1. Leighmoor Uniting Church
2. Protection for Families and Friends
3. Healing for The Sick & People Who Are in Need
4. Peace, Unity, and Justice in Nations
5. Culture of Discipleship
6. Protection from Violence, Racism, and Abuse
7. Pray for Environment & Sustainability
8. Prayers around COVID & Across Australia
9. For the People of Afghanistan
10. Care and recovery of each part of God’s creation

Sunday School: Break during lockdown

Messy Church: Postponed until it can be safely managed

Collection of Favorite Hymns for Hymn Service (Sep)
(Notify Heeyoung by phone, email, text message or paper)

Heeyoung’s Annual Leave: From 28th Sep to 11th Oct
(10 Working Days, Sunday Service: 3rd Oct & 10th Oct)

The Prayer and Service of Faith 26-09-2021

26th September 2021 Pentecost 18 (Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Title: The Prayer and Service of Faith
(Scripture Reading: James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50)
By Heeyoung Lim
We can communicate with God by praying. James 5 invites us to pray both in times of trouble and in times of joy. Trouble includes physical and emotional stress arising from both ordinary trials and special difficulties. We can pray in all of life’s situations such as sickness, confession of sin, seeking God’s will, the recovery of broken hearts, and the revival of spiritual stagnation. In times of joy, may we sing songs of praise to God instead of complacency in life or worldly contentment that can cause people to distance themselves from God. It can be expressions of our thankful responses. We are to keep on praying to God as the creator during tough times too.
Christians who face difficulties often lose their awareness of the presence of God due to their anxiety and gloom. Christians who are in the joy of abundance tend to forget God. May we pray and praise God in both the darkness and sunshine of our lives.
The prayer offered in faith is based on confidence that God is our healer. In accordance with today’s text, the prayer of faith will make the sick person well and the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, because the Lord will raise them up. God hears the prayers of righteous people who pray with passion. Effective and powerful prayer comes from righteous person and the heart of a believer whose passion is to see the will of God worked out in life. May we remember that believers have a right to faithfully respond to God in all of life’s situations.
However, this does not imply that if a person has a strong faith, God will answer the prayer the way they want. God does His will and work in the ways best for the kingdom of God. Prayer can bring healing, but lack of healing does not show that the one praying lacks faith. It does not mean that God is incapable of healing, or the prayer is invalid. Verses 14 and 15 refer to physical healing and not to spiritual deliverance and verse 16 teaches us to confess our sins to each other so that we will be forgiven and pray for each other to be healed. It is confession to dedicated, trusted prayer warriors who will intercede for us with God. If we have sinned, we will be forgiven through our repentance and confession. God hears the prayers of penitent people and forgives sin. May we offer faithful prayer support for struggling or stumbling Christians as trusted spiritual friends.
Elijah in verse 17 was able to perceive when God wanted to begin and end the drought. The example of Elijah challenges us to seek a closeness in our walk with God so that we know and follow His will. Those prayers which accord with the will of God will be answered. May we walk in God’s will that we love what God loves and reject what he rejects.
Verse 19 focuses on the spiritually sick and outlines how to restore them; Whoever will save them from death and cover over a multiple of sins if someone bring sinners or wanderers back to Christ. The act of bringing someone back is not about conversion, it is about reclaiming a Christian who has wandered into sin. Today’s text invites us to do our best to bring wandering believers back to full commitment to Christ.
We do not want someone will experience eternal separation from God. Christians who encourage straying believers back to Christ obey God and lead the sinner to forgiveness. For restoring wanderers and finding the lost, we would expect the starting point to be prayer for the repentance of wanderers and a ministry of love in supporting and encouraging them.
The world is still full of sin, tragedy, and those who wander, but Jesus’ disciples can continue to engage the world in hope for a time when faith community can be reunited, and the kingdom of God can be extended in and through prayer. We pray for others who are in need and the wider world. This allows us to see the image of God embodied in others, to share in their suffering, and to add our prayer for the good of the world. I believe that the power of prayer is seen most clearly in the praying church. The prayers of the community build up community and allow the people to become more like Jesus. The faith community is empowered to carry out Christ’s mission through prayer. It is a faith expression and response in which all ages can participate from children to the elderly. Prayer changes relationships, lives, and communities, and the prayer of a righteous person works powerfully. May we pray in strong faith to God both in times of trouble and in times of joy and we be truly to walk with Jesus.
A faith community enhances the lives of its members, shapes values, and provides protection and support. It is a place of identity, where people have a sense of worthiness and sense of belonging because they are recognized and cared. There is a constant tension between being inclusive and being exclusive. When John sees a man healing people and overcoming demonic forces and claiming to be doing it on the authority of Jesus, John knows that this man is unknown to Jesus, so he tries to have the man stopped. (Mark 9)
However, Jesus doesn’t treat the Good News as his exclusive matter. He wants other people to hear about it and to live by it. Can we use someone else’s name without their permission? I do not think we can use someone else’s music, writings, art, and inventions without their permission due to the copyright. Jesus gives people the credit when they serve others in the name of Jesus.
In Mark 9:41, Jesus pointed to service again as he told his disciples that humble acts of service when done because of Christ will be rewarded. Jesus tells us about the service of “a cup of waters”, which was a great act of hospitality and kindness in the dry climate of the Middle East. Our actions and our words carry significant weight.
Jesus warned His disciples and us about the risk that we may stumble ourselves, and these words were spoken not to everyone but to those who were seeking to follow Him. He talked to the disciples about the salt and saltiness, the qualities that would purify, preserve, and enhance their community. Their saltiness involves being humble in their relationships, giving of themselves for others, reaching out people around them. Jesus tells His disciples, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another,” (50) In Matthew 5:13, the disciples are called to be the salt of the earth, but they must be aware of losing their flavour and so becoming worthless. Jesus wants us to have salt among ourselves and be at peace with each other. May we live in peace with one another.
God hears the prayers of His people as they cry out for peace. The Love of Christ encourages Christians to pray for others and to love others. I hope we can be righteous people who pray with passion, and I pray we live at peace in Christ. May we be passionate praying church.
Thanks be to God! Amen. 
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Order of Service and Notices 26-09-2021

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

CALL TO WORSHIP
WELCOME
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
PRAYER

TIS 597 Master Speak Thy Servant Heareth  

SERVICE OF THE WORD

READINGS James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

TIS 601 O Master Let Me Walk with Thee  

CHILDREN TIME

SERMON: The Prayer and Service of Faith
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

JOYS AND CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
NOTICES – OFFERTORY

TIS 217 Love Divine All Love’s Excelling

BENEDICTION God Be with You (v. 3)

NOTICES:

Prayer Topics

1. Leighmoor Uniting Church
2. Protection for Families and Friends
3. Healing for The Sick & People Who Are in Need
4. Peace, Unity, and Justice in Nations
5. Culture of Discipleship
6. Protection from Violence, Racism, and Abuse
7. Pray for Environment & Sustainability
8. Prayers around COVID & Across Australia
9. For the People of Afghanistan
10. Care and recovery of each part of God’s creation

Sunday School: Break during lockdown

Messy Church: Postponed until it can be safely managed

Collection of Favorite Hymns for Hymn Service (Sep)
(Notify Heeyoung by phone, email, text message or paper)

Heeyoung’s Annual Leave: From 28th Sep to 11th Oct
(10 Working Days, Sunday Service: 3rd Oct & 10th Oct)

True Glory in Service to God 19-09-2021

19th September 2021 Pentecost 17 (Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost) Title: True glory in Service to God
(Scripture Reading: James 3:13-18, 4:7-8; Mark 9:30-37)
By Heeyoung Lim
As Christians, we often fail to recognize the presence of God and the meaning of His gifts, but we desire intimacy with God. We saw in verses 9-10 that Jesus talked about his death and resurrection and that the disciples did not understand his teaching. In verse 31-33, the scene shifts to a house, a confined area where avoidance is harder to get away with. Jesus does not let His disciples stay on the comfortable outside when they did not want to hear about suffering Messiah. Their comfort zone was a place where they lacked understanding of Jesus, and a place where they rejected Jesus’ words. This shows not only that the words of Christ give us hope and strength and the fact that He leads to take ourselves to our limits, step outside our comfort zones and go the extra mile to achieve greatness in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus begins to talk about the signs of his betrayal, death, and resurrection, but He explains nothing. When Jesus predicted His death, the disciples argued over who would be the greatest in His kingdom. They were still thinking of Jesus as a conquering Messiah. When Jesus asked the disciples what they had been arguing about among themselves, they remained silent. They ignored and denied what they hear for the second time. Jesus did not focus on their arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus called the twelve and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” (35)
Jesus tells us that if we want to be first, we must be last. The theme of servanthood echoes throughout Mark’s Gospel. Jesus said that the greatest in the kingdom will be the person who serves. He stated again that human values are not necessarily kingdom values. Jesus took a little child and placed the child among them. “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Jesus Christ has become our servant.
Jesus shows the preciousness of every human life in the sight of God, no matter how small, how insignificant. When have you been like the child whom Jesus embraced? I believe we can find comfort, aid, and security in Jesus’ arms by welcoming Jesus. When have you been brought to the true glory from the frustration and disappointment?
1

We are all in our weakness and vulnerability, but we will be warmly hugged by God. Brooks states, “To ‘welcome’ or ‘receive’ means ‘to be concerned about, to care for, to show kindness to.” To accept the outcasts and oppressed is a way of accepting God’s will. Who is the greatest? Greatness in the kingdom of God consists not of position or power but of ministry or service.
In the ancient world children were precious to their parents, but they had no social status or value. They were considered among the lowest element in the society of that time. We have seen how Jesus treated the sick and outcast; we have seen how he treated women. Now we see His treatment of children. (36) Our commitment to Christ demands that we serve the weak and the outcasts of society as well as the powerful. May we welcome children and care for them as special members of our congregation. I pray we feel the peace of the Lord in Jesus’ arms and serve each other.
Today’s text shows how little the disciples understand Jesus and his mission. We remind that the disciples had been talking about which one was the greatest instead of understanding Jesus or serving others. The pain and frustration that goes along with the loss of status and honour are perhaps akin to that experienced by the disciples of Jesus as they struggled both to hear and resist what He was saying. After all, they had seen miraculous things, they had been with the Lord, they had performed great deeds. I believe that there will be changes in our faith and lives that please God. May we be all on the way with Jesus.
When we spend time with God, we can surrender our life agenda to him and ask how He would want us to live and serve. Jesus shows the disciples the source of their true glory and what is to be the Christian’s glory. When we are faced with trials, may we remember there is a deeper glory than what we can see in this world. I hope we can get in the habit of seeing things from an eternal perspective though we are on the earth.
James encourages us to submit ourselves to God. James 3 reminds us of our need to demonstrate genuine wisdom. The Bible calls on all of us to show the presence of God’s wisdom in our lives by deeds of humility and goodness. Believers with true wisdom avoid envy and selfish ambition and produce peace and righteousness in Christ. The wrong response by false wisdom destroys unity, but the right response by true wisdom can contribute to peace.
2

James warned that people who had envy and selfish ambition could boast about it or deny the truth. Those who choose to deny the truth can end up rejecting the truth of the gospel. Selfish ambition and envy prove that a person is following the route of false wisdom that does not come down from heaven but is earthly or demonic.
Unfortunately, we Christians are often guilty of using this twisted wisdom, but we can get in another habit of seeing eternal things from heaven even when we are faced with trials. God wants His people to control their tongues and to display true wisdom. He values humility, peace, and righteousness more than self-centred zeal and ambition. May we be consistent in the use of our tongues and not to deny God’s truth. May we ask God to help us develop true wisdom as the dominating characteristic of our lives.
Verse 17 and 18 tell us, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” Full of mercy is revealed by offering compassion to those in distress and full of good fruit is shown by kind actions and helpful deeds to others. True wisdom results in a harvest of righteousness, an experience of peace, and harmonious relationships between human beings. May we bear fruit, which is godly, righteous, or helpful to others. Our commitment to Christ demands that we serve the weak and the outcasts of society. I hope and pray that we find true glory in service to God and others.
In James 4:7-8, God wants us to come near to God, submit ourselves to God, and purify our hearts. I hope that we can be of people that search for His voice and listen out when He tells us “Come to me”, “Purify your hearts”, and “submit yourselves to me”. Greatness on Jesus’ terms means being humble, lowly, and vulnerable as a child. It seems to be risky, but His way of greatness is the path of life. The love of Christ will cast out all fear. May we serve God and others in the love of Christ and walk with Jesus in our faith journey.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)
3

Order of Service and Notices 19-09-2021

PLEASE STAND FOR ENTRY OF THE BIBLE

SERVICE OF APPROACH

CALL TO WORSHIP
WELCOME
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
PRAYER

TIS 156 Morning Has Broken  

SERVICE OF THE WORD

READINGS James 3:13-18, 4:7-8; Mark 9:30-37

TIS 590 What a Friend We Have in Jesus  

CHILDREN TIME

SERMON: True Glory in Service to God
[Sermon on Web / Hardcopies at the Door after worship]

SERVICE OF RESPONSE

JOYS AND CONCERNS


PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

TIS 569 Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer

BENEDICTION God Be with You (v. 2)

NOTICES:

Prayer Topics

1. Leighmoor Uniting Church
2. Protection for Families and Friends
3. Healing for The Sick & People Who Are in Need
4. Peace, Unity, and Justice in Nations
5. Culture of Discipleship
6. Protection from Violence, Racism, and Abuse
7. Pray for Environment & Sustainability
8. Prayers around COVID & Across Australia
9. For the People of Afghanistan
10. Care and recovery of each part of God’s creation

Sunday School: Break during lockdown

Messy Church: Postponed until it can be safely managed

Collection of Favorite Hymns for Hymn Service (Sep)
(Notify Heeyoung by phone, email, text message or paper)

Our Responses to Jesus’ Identity 12-09-2021

12th September 2021 Pentecost 16 (Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Our Responses to Jesus’ Identity
(Scripture Reading: James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38)
By Heeyoung Lim

If the relationship develops, there are other insights to be gained. With further share and experience between relationships, an acquaintance may turn into a friend and a friend may become a life companion. But there are limits to how much we can know about another person. In everyone there are secrets and surprises of the heart and deed that will not be revealed or that cannot be discerned. In relationships between Jesus and disciples, the disciples’ knowledge of Jesus was growing and their understanding becoming greater.
Jesus asks His disciples what they have heard about Him. Then Jesus questions the disciples about His identity. “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ.” It seems that when Peter calls Jesus the Christ, he has the right title but the wrong understanding of what the title means for Jesus. When Jesus declares that he is going to suffer and be rejected and be killed, Peter does not want to hear about a suffering Messiah. He seems to be looking for a Messiah who will establish God’s kingdom with authority and power, and who will bring His followers glory and reward. Popular messianic hopes of that day awaited a militant character who would bring deliverance to the nation and freedom from Rome.
Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone about this event. He knew the disciples did not have a full understanding of who the Messiah was or what he would suffer. (30) When Jesus spoke about his upcoming passion, death, and resurrection for the first time, Peter told Him to stop talking like that.
However, Jesus told and corrected Peter, “Get away from me, you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (33) Peter was thinking like everyone else. Jesus led Peter to be reconnected to discipleship by the correction. In Christ God enables us to find a way that is different from the way of the world, leads us to discern God’s will in our lives, and invites us to live by God’s wisdom that are not embodied in the normal course of human life.
James 3:1-12 speaks of the power of the tongue for ill or good. The risks associated with the responsibility of speaking is found in Peter’s attempt to stop Jesus. The tongue is a small organ, but it can control and influence major events in life. Those who misuse the tongue receive God’s condemnation. (James 3:1) James warns against the chaos our tongue can cause. Verse 10 highlights the inconsistency of one mouth between praising and cursing. People are inconsistent if they bless God and then curse those made in God’s likeness at the same time. When they curse those whom, God has made, they are effectively cursing God. God tells us that such a double standard is outrageous, and this should not be.
We have lots of opportunities to think about self-awareness, the degree about caution of speaking, and the possibility to cultivate of wisdom in our faith journey. Colossians 4:6 provides a conclusion about speech, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
In seeking to control our tongues we must admit to God our weakness, seek his help, and place relentless guard on our tongues. God’s grace can enable us to use our tongues and our words for blessing and encouraging others. (11) Fear of the Lord is the beginning of the wisdom. God wants His people to control their tongues and to display true wisdom. By nature, the tongue could serve as a divisive instrument of evil, by grace, the tongue can become an instrument of positive blessing.
While Peter was not possessed by Satan, he was temporarily used as an instrument of Satan in this situation, even though he was the one who confessed Jesus as the Messiah. Because we are children of God who believe in Jesus, we do not belong to Satan, but we can be affected by it temporarily when we fall into temptation. May we always be awake in the Lord and follow Jesus.
Jesus wants us to interest in the things of God and He leads us to accept His mission and demands for discipleship. In this passage, Jesus tells the listeners, what it means to be a true disciple of His. He tells everyone about the cost of being a follower of His.
Jesus said to His disciples and the crowd, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (34-35) The phrase “deny himself” implies that we must seek God’s will just like Jesus and submit our will to His. Take up his cross might have been an offensive statement to the listeners. Today’s text tells us that Jesus’ disciples are to take risks in serving, giving, and sacrificing for people and the world in the perspective of God’s wisdom which can be expressed as risky wisdom.
By denying oneself, taking up one’s cross and following Jesus, a disciple acknowledges that he/she is submitting to Jesus’ authority. Taking up our cross is about a willingness to pay the price of following Jesus and living out the gospel. When people lose their lives by taking up the cross, they find life in Christ. Christian growth is a process. May we, Jesus’ disciples, follow Jesus through denying oneself, taking up one’s cross, and submitting to Jesus’ authority in our lives.
We can answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” We confess Him Christ, Messiah, Lord, Saviour, Master, Friend, Son of God, etc. Our experience of Jesus is all precious, but it is limited because we have experienced some, not all. Jesus wants us to set our mind on divine things and respond to Jesus. Our responses to Jesus’ identity are not perfect, but we can follow Jesus by seeking God’s will in our lives and utilize our memory of how Jesus has worked in the past to make it through our tough times.
We are in the chaos between isolation and connection, silence and too much talk, inclusiveness and exclusiveness, and openness and closeness. However, I believe God’s word and our words of encouragement will build us up and send us back to our life with renewed enthusiasm and a tongue committed to God can be used as a positive tool for building hope and strength in others.
God’s wisdom often calls us to turn and follow unexpected and risky paths. Jesus invites us to speak, encourage, and bless by grace. I hope our culture of speaking will be transformed in God’s hands. We live between great confessions and shameful ones. All our words should be illuminated by the word of the Lord and embodied through practical action. May we walk right paths and live by the gospel trusting and hoping in God’s presence. May we deny ourselves daily and submit to Christ’s authority over us. I pray we confess who Jesus is with depth of understanding of Him and share warm blessings and graceful words each other in the love of God.
Thanks be to God! Amen. 
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)