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READINGS:
Genesis 15:1-12,17-18   God's promises to Abram OR Damien Hurst? God did it first!
Phillipians 3:17-4:1          Follow my example
Luke 13:31-35               Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Psalm 27                        A Psalm of Praise!


HYMNS: (Rejoice and Sing unless otherwise stated.)

123 Think of a world without any flowers
198 A stranger once did bless the earth
339 Great God your love has called us here
490 Beyond the mist and doubt
513 'Twixt gleams of joy and clouds of doubt
548 Nothing distress you
683 The Lord Jehovah is my light
684 God is my strong salvation
Mission Praise 510 O Lord have mercy on me.


OPENING SENTENCES:  (based on Psalm 27)

I ask only one thing, Lord:
LET ME LIVE IN YOUR PRESENCE EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE
My heart tells me to pray
I AM EAGER TO SEE YOUR FACE
Teach me to follow Lord
LEAD ME ON THE RIGHT PATH
I ask only one thing, Lord:
LET ME LIVE IN YOUR PRESENCE EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE

PRAYER OF APPROACH:  (based on Psalm 27)

Loving God, we thank you for the words of the Psalmist,
I ask only one thing, Lord, let me live in your presence every day of my life.

As we gather here today, we can see how you are with us.
You have called us here,
        our hearts call us to prayer
        we are eager to see your face.
You have called us here,
        our lives are hungry for your Word,
        we are eager to be filled with your Spirit
You have called us here,
        we are bound together as your body,
        we are eager to share with one another the gifts you have given us.

As we look back over our lives, we can see how you have always been with us:
one day as a flickering light in the darkness
 - the next as dazzling sunlight;
one day with sharp words of challenge and rebuke
 - the next with warm words of comfort and hope;
one day as fleeting as a shadow
 - the next as a companion walking at our side

As we look forward to the future, give us:
the faith of the Psalmist - that you go before us;
the trust of the Psalmist - that you will protect us;
the hope of the Psalmist - that casts out fear.

I ask only one thing, Lord, let me live in your presence every day of my life. Amen


THEME INTRODUCTION: based on Genesis 15:1-6
 
1: Promises, promises

Read the Abram story - there is a good version in the Lion's Children's Bible.
While reading show slides/OHP pictures of stars and galaxies.

What promises do you come across every day?
eg. on a five pound note; Brownie/Cub scout promise....

Are you good at keeping promises? have you promised to give something up or take something on for Lent? How are you doing?

Our promises are not like God's .........


2: Trust in me.....?!

Make a feely box and have something nice inside it. Place it on a table and ask if anyone trusts you enough to put their hands in...If someone says yes then don't let them just yet.(*)
Produce a towel...do they still trust you - it will be nice
Then bring out a first aid kit...do they still trust you - it will be nice
An apron or old shirt to cover them up just in case...do they still trust you - it will be nice, I promise.
It's time for them to put their hands in. And find something nice!
Did they find it hard/easy to trust?


God promised Abram that something nice would happen to him - that he would have a great reward. Abram wasn't sure this would happen - after all he had no children to hand anything on to so what was a reward to him? God took him outside to look at the stars - your children will be as numerous as that. It seemed unlikely as Abram and his wife were very old. But Abram trusted God, he was sure God would take care of him.

You might not be able to trust me - it might have been something horrible in that box! But you can trust God, even if you think his plans are unlikely. He always has our best interests at heart because he loves us and wants to take care of us. Don't trust in me - trust in God.

* If no-one says yes then that just shows their lack of trust in you! You can continue trying to persuade by making the feely-box more appealing.

Prayer of Intercession  (based on Luke 13:31-35 )


Loving God, we know you long to gather us to yourself, as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings.

We pray for nations which are scattered: torn apart by war and internal conflict;
                                                              crippled by poverty and debt;
                                                              threatened by the elements and natural catastrophes

Loving God, we know you long to gather us to yourself, gather these nations beneath your wings.

We pray for communities which are fractured: by prejudice and bigotry;
                                                                      by discrimination and inequality;
                                                                      by fear and mistrust.

Loving God, we know you long to gather us to yourself, gather these communities beneath your wings.

We pray for families which are broken: by damaged relationships;
                                                            by selfishness and deceit;
                                                            by an unforgiving past.

Loving God, we know you long to gather us to yourself, gather these families beneath your wings.

We pray for people who are alienated: by loneliness and rejection;
                                                           by the pain of grief;
                                                           by sickness and suffering.

Loving God, we know you long to gather us to yourself, gather these people beneath your wings.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who showed us the way to the God who will gather together everything in heaven and on earth, to his eternal praise and glory, Amen

Closing Prayer:

May Godís face shine upon us;
may Christís peace rule among us;
may the Spiritís fire burn within us,
as we scatter into the world
until we meet again.