Home Worship Sheet 13 06 2021

Welcome to our home worship sheets and to the second in our series on the Apostle Paul.  Today we’re looking at one of the most famous incidents in Paul’s life and the encounter that changed his life forever.  
Let’s pray together as we start this morning.

Father God, we thank you for the week that has passed and for this new day.  We ask you to help us today as we look at your word and reflect on it.  Lord we ask you to meet with us, to challenge us and to change us today.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Call to worship: (Psalm 34:1-4)
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

We are going to bless the Lord and praise his name as we sing our first song today.  We’re going to sing/read/listen “Bless the Lord O my soul” Click here to find the song on YouTube.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
O my soul, worship his holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I’ll worship your holy name.

The sun comes up,
it’s a new day dawning;
it’s time to sing
your song again
Whatever may pass
and whatever lies before me,
let me be singing
when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;…

You’re rich in love
and you’re slow to anger,
your name is great
and your heart is kind.
For all your goodness,
I will keep on singing;
ten thousand reasons
for my heart to find.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;…

And on that day
when my strength is failing,
he end draws near
and my time has come,
still my soul
will sing your praise unending;
ten thousand years
and then forever more!

Bless the Lord, O my soul;


Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman
© 2011 Thankyou Music/Said and Done/Jonas Myrin/ SHOUT! Publishing/Hillsong Publishing

Thanksgiving:
We’re going to take a moment to give thanks and praise God for all the ways He looks after us and for all the blessings we’ve received.  Take a moment now to remember some of the things you are particularly grateful for.

Father God, we thank you for all the ways you bless us and look after us.  We thank you for all that we’ve thought about and so much more.  Mostly we thank you for giving us your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through Jesus we can know you more and find life in all its fulness.  Thank you for your love.  Amen

A part of giving thanks and praise and worship to God is remembering the money that we offer towards the work of the kingdom.   However you give, please take a moment to thank God and to pray for his will to be done with this money.

Reading: (Acts 9:1-20)
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ 11 The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ 13 But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ 15 But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’[i]

Reflection:
Paul’s wise teacher, Gamaliel, had already warned the Jewish leaders that persecuting Christians was pointless and possibly dangerous because they might end up fighting against God himself! (Act 5:34-39) Paul has clearly not taken this advice to heart, in fact being an accomplice to the murder of Stephen seems to have made him more angry and more determined to stamp out the message of Jesus.  Passionately religious pharisees like Paul were not just interested in keeping the rules of their faith, many of them also longed for an encounter with God.  They would meditate on Ezekiel’s vision of heaven (Ezekiel 1:26-28) and they hoped that they too would catch a glimpse of God’s glory.  Maybe Paul was meditating and hoping for vision as he made the 135 mile journey to Damascus.  Maybe he longed to see the heavens open as Stephen had done.  Maybe he longed to see the sapphire throne with a human form on it that Ezekiel saw his vision.  Paul’s prayers and longings were answered in the most terrible and wonderful way that fateful day on the road to Damascus when he saw and heard Jesus for himself.  The shock threw him to the ground, the sight struck him blind and the course of his life changed forever.  Paul’s amazing encounter with God forced him to re-evaluate everything that he thought he knew, it left him vulnerable and helpless.  Paul spent three days fasting and praying and waiting until Ananias came to help him, heal him and welcome him into the family of the Church.  I wonder whether Paul’s understanding of the Church as the body of Christ, that we see so clearly in his letters, stems from Jesus words to him on the road to Damascus.  Hurting Jesus’ followers was causing pain to Jesus himself!  Paul’s encounter with God definitely brought him far more than he could ever have imagined!

Sometimes I think this story can make us feel a bit “second class”.  We think back to our encounters with God and those moments for us are not usually quite so dramatic.  Most people don’t experience an audible voice from God, most of us are not struck blind by a vision of heaven.  No doubt these things still happen to some but they are the rare exceptions, both now and even in the New Testament times.  I think what we can learn from this story is that God wants to meet with us, to lead us and to challenge us BUT he will meet us as individuals in the way that we need and in the way that we can understand and relate to; if we are willing!  I think we see from this story that God doesn’t change the person that Paul is, Paul’s devotion and his passion are still very obvious but they have just been redirected.  Although his life is turned around the person that Paul is, is the person that God loves and the person He wants to use for His work and His purposes in the world.  Few of us have the energy or the passion that Paul had but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t need us or want us to be a part of his work and his plan for this world.  Each one of us has our own unique life story of experiences and our own unique personality but we all have a place in the body of Christ and a part to play.  We all have the Holy Spirit to guide us and to strengthen us to do the work of God in the world.  As Paul would later explain in his letters every part of the body of Christ is important, each of us is vital to God’s plan.  And as Paul encourages us in Romans 8
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:14-15)

Questions:

  1. What is the most encouraging part of this story for you?
  2. Where else in the New Testament do you see the impact of this encounter with God on Paul?
  3. Where do you experience the presence of God?

Thank you Father for your love and care, please help us this week to listen for your voice.  Encourage us with your presence we pray.  Amen

Charles Wesley wrote our next song as a response to his encounters with God.  Let respond to God’s love for you as we sing “And can it be”
(Source 21)  Click here to find the song on YouTube.

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all! The immortal dies:
who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine!
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
let angel minds inquire no more.

He left his father’s throne above,
so free, so infinite His grace;
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley

Let’s take some time to pray for the needs of others:

Loving God we start by praying for the world around us. Especially for world leader facing difficult decisions and challenges at this time. For those countries affected by war or poverty as well as facing the threat of COVID.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We also pray for the country we’re living in. For the government to know your wisdom to make the right decisions for us and for our world.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We pray for Wendover and our local communities. For everyone who lives near us. We pray for your peace and your love to be know in our local community.  Please Bless Messy Church this afternoon.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We pray for our loved ones, those we know who may be ill, those who are struggling, those who are confused and conflicted… (think of people you know a bring them before God in prayer)

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

And finally, we pray for ourselves, you know what is on our hearts and minds, and so we offer that to you (take a few moments to tell your concerns to you Father in heaven)

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Let us conclude our time of prayer by saying the Lord’s prayer together:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom,
the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever.  Amen.

Our final song reminds.  Let us sing/read/listen to “Who am I that the highest king?”  Click here for the song on YouTube.

Who am I
that the highest King

Would welcome me?
I was lost but
He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last,
He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am x2

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am x2

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am x3

Yes, I am who You say I am

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Hillsong Reuben Morgan; Ben Fielding 2017

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore, Amen


[i] Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

CCLI: 21497