Welcome to worship at Leeds West Hunslet. This service has been prepared by Major’s David and Gill Coates, who are appointed to Homelessness Services in the North East Region. We pray that God will challenge, inspire and bless you as you share in this act of worship and communion with God. Today we will consider where our focus is, and how we should focus more on Jesus. As we share in the opening song take note particularly of the words of the third verse – ‘Blessed Lord, to see thee truly’
Prayer by Roy Lessin
Jesus, I want to see You, for no other face can show me the Father, and no other light can reveal His image. I want to know what it fully means to have the eyes of my heart opened to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to be in awe of Your glory. Reveal to me the grace upon Your countenance, the joy within Your spirit, and the love that moves Your heart toward mine.
Lord, I seek to move closer, to see clearer, and to be drawn nearer to You–where there are gaps in my understanding of who You are, close them; where there are blanks, fill them in; where there is a lack of clarity, bring things into sharper focus.
Jesus, I know that in You there is no lack, for I am complete in You; there is no emptiness, for I am made full in You; there is no fragmentation, for I am made whole in You. Thank You for being the image of God that I can see, the provision of God I can receive, and the light of God that I can follow.
May You find in me a faith that is growing, a trust that is building, and a love that is deepening day by day. Jesus, I wait upon You, come to me; I listen for You, speak to me; I look to You, show me; I lean on You, keep me. I thank You for being the hope of my heart, the joy of my life, and the reason why I live. Amen.
(Scriptures: Revelation 4:11, John 1:3, Ephesians 1, Colossians 2:9-10, Hebrews 1, 12:2, Philippians 3:8-13)
Bible Reading: Hebrews 12. 1-3.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honour beside Gods throne in heaven. 3 Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.
International Staff Songsters: You are Always There
I have a nominal interest in photography and have a decent Sony camera with all the bells and whistles, which I have used a lot more recently due to lockdown and having to work from home. Trying to capture the visiting birdlife to our back garden, in particular.
I also have a mobile phone which takes pretty good pictures, but the only problem I have with this is, now I’m getting old and decrepit my hand shakes a little and as a result the pictures are out of focus.
Focus is important, not just in taking pictures but in life.
What’s our focus on? I must admit it has sometimes been difficult to focus during lockdown and working from home, it’s so easy to be distracted.
A piece of research done by a university professor looked at Olympic medallists and she discovered that Bronze medallists were happier than Silver medallists. Why? She found that Silver medallists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold, so they weren’t satisfied with silver. Bronze medallists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all, so they were just happy to be on the medal stand.
That study reveals a fascinating facet of human nature: your focus determines your reality.
How we feel is determined by our subjective focus. Here’s another way of saying it: your internal attitudes are more important than your external circumstances.
So, what you focus your mind upon is important
An old farmer was about to die, and he called his 2 sons to his bedside. He said, "Boys, my farm and the fields are yours. You each have equal shares. I leave you a little ready money, but the bulk of my wealth is hidden somewhere in the ground of the farm. I’m not sure anymore quite where it is, but it’s not more than 18 inches from the surface.
In time, of course, the old man died, the sons inherited the farm. Not long afterwards they set to work digging up every inch of ground. But they failed to find any treasure. But since they’d gone to all the trouble of turning the soil, they thought they might as well sow a crop - which they did, reaping a good harvest.
The following autumn as soon as they had an opportunity, they dug for the treasure again, but with no better results. As their fields were turned over more thoroughly than any others in the neighbourhood, they reaped better harvests than anyone else.
Year after year, their search continued… and year after year they gained a good crop. It was only when they had grown older that they realized what their father had done. Those guys were more focused on the possible wealth they could find in the ground, rather than the ongoing benefit of the fields and the crop they produced.
Galatians 6.7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows
So, what is our focus?
Do we focus on the negative and reap Seeds of Despair? (we can’t do this, or we can’t do that)
Or do we focus on the positive and reap Seeds of Hope? By taking God at His Word, and taking a Step of Faith, and being strong. But our circumstances sometimes seem greater than we are, this is when God shines:
· David killed the giant with a sling
· Moses led Hebrews out of Egypt with a stick
· Jesus changed the world with 12 men
These shouldn’t have happened, but God made it happen. So, what is our focus on for the future?
Have you heard about the Reticular Activating System?
Behavioural scientists have discovered that we usually see things that we prepare ourselves to see, and that this is all centred in a network of nerve cells called the "Reticular Activating System."
Once something has been brought to our attention and we have been prepared to see it, we'll see it virtually everywhere we go.
For example, if you decide to buy a new car and you make up your mind that you are going to buy a certain brand, a certain body style, and a certain colour, suddenly, you'll see those cars everywhere.
You'll see them on the roads, in TV advertisements, in newspapers and magazines. They're everywhere.
I experienced this a few years ago when I decided to choose the Nissan Juke from the SA fleet car list
As soon as I had done that, they seemed to appear everywhere I went.
Now what had happened? They were always there, but the moment I prepared myself to see them, my Reticular Activating System kicked in, and suddenly I saw them everywhere.
Whatever you focus on expands; so, focus wisely.”
Your focus determines your reality….so where should our focus be?
Hebrews 12 in the NLT says ‘And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish’
Or as The Voice translations says: ‘Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith’
That’s who we need to focus on, if we keep our focus on him everything else will fall into place.
I’m reminded of that old chorus we used to sing, and a song now sung by Lauren Daigle, whose words I leave with you:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace
Song by Lauren Daigle: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Benediction SASB 1029
Jesus, so dear to us, Jesus, be near to us, Jesus, give ear to us Each as we pray; Jesus, whate’er betide, Jesus, be friend and guide, Jesus, be by our side Now and for aye.
Thank you for reading.
Written by Majors David and Gill Coates.
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We have now been able to set up a scheme which will enable you to give in an offering online. Below there is a QR code – a square with ‘Givt’ in the middle and black and white squiggles all over it – and when you download the ‘Givt’ app onto your phone or other device you will be able to make a contribution, of whatever amount, to the Corps simply by showing you phone or device to the QR icon.
Here’s what to do :
Download the app named ‘Givt’ from the Apple ‘App Store’ or ‘Google Play’ on your phone or tablet etc.
Wait for an email from ‘Givt’ which will give you instructions as to how to proceed further
Follow the emailed instructions to register on to the system.
Then when you want to make a donation you simply allow your phone or device to read the QR icon below and enter the amount you want to give – and you’re done!
The amount will be given anonymously and will be taken from your account not less than 8 days and not more than 11 days from when you made the donation. The Bank details are safe and secure and 100% of the gift is given to LWH Corps.
Please note that the donation is not instead of your cartridge, - it simply takes the place of your normal ‘Sunday Offering Plate’ gift. Your giving is very important to the Corps and greatly appreciated.
At this time when we are unable to meet as we used to, we have lost the Offering revenue, so this a great way to keep on supporting the Corps in these difficult times.
That’s all there is to it – but If you want clarification on any point please do not hesitate to contact me.