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First Sunday in Lent : 18th Feb 2024

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Genesis 9:8-17
00:00 / 01:57

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Peter 3:18-22
00:00 / 00:56

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint Mark.

Mark 1:9-15
00:00 / 00:55

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Three simple steps.
00:00 / 10:58

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon for Lent 1, 18th Feb 2024

Take my lips O God and speak through them, take our minds O God and think through them, take our hearts O God and love through them this day. <Amen>

I’ve been running around the parks and lakes in the Barrio Rodrigo Bueno these past few days and my running watch not only knows that I am no longer in New Zealand but it maps exactly where I am, monitors my heart and breathing rates, my step rate, sleep patterns, energy used, AND it also takes messages, answers my phone, it even let’s Kim know if I fall over … and MUCH more.

As I remain in awe of this tiny device I realise that all I really, REALLY need to know when I’m out staggering along is - the distance I have covered and the time is has taken. Given those two pieces of information I can work out the rest for myself … am I on target? Going too slowly? Ahead of my goal? Whatever.

The temptation to make things way too complicated is, I realise, now on my wrist !

As the great Oscar Wilde once said:

“I can resist everything – except temptation”

So it can be for people speaking to a gospel - it is all too easy to be be tempted to make the message too complicated. For example, today, I could go diving into the wonderful theology of Baptism, or temptation or the call to Ministry. All too easy to make a message way too complicated.

Then The Lord reminded me …. “Keep It Simple, Stupid”

When I return to this gospel and read it with more child-like eyes I see, revealed in it, the Christian life - how to live the life of The Risen Christ.

The gospel begins with Baptism - that wonderful sacrament where we are born anew. That glorious moment when we emerge from the waters, members of Christ’s body.

The gospel continues by reminding us that we live a human life surrounded by temptation. Those things in life which strive to keep us from following the path that God wants us to be on. After His baptism Jesus went into the wilderness to spend time alone with His Father.

In this Lenten season we also should try and spend more time in prayer. Only with God’s help, and only through the power of prayer, will be better fitted to overcome our daily temptations.

The gospel concludes with ministry. A going out into the world based upon: “REPENT and believe in the good news” (Mark 12:15). REPENT! REPENT! Ah … not really a fashionable cry today.

Many see it as negative or unwholesome to call people “sinners” and call them to REPENT. Some folks say that we should only look at the positive things about ourselves.

Yet, to ignore MY sin is to hide MY eyes from what I’m doing wrongly in MY life … it's to ignore reality! What about you ? <PAUSE>

If we examine our lives in the light of God’s commands, it is easy to see how we ALL fall short (see Romans 3:23). This being so, we need to take action: recognising our faults is the first stage towards healing.

This VITAL step towards being able to move closer to living the life of the Risen Christ, is to accept the reality of our faults, our sins, and the impact they have on our lives.

REPENT does not mean beating ourselves up, and wallowing in our sins: it means admitting them freely and fully before God, and asking Him to help us change.

This is the time that I like to call “REPENTANCE IN PRAYER”. It is a meeting between a person and God. It’s where each and every one of us – has the opportunity to have the burden of our sin lifted. <PAUSE>

Oh yes, and never think that our sins are too bad for Jesus to forgive us and change our lives. We may think that we are being humble by thinking we are too bad to be forgiven, but really … that is a lack of faith.

If we trust God’s promises and power, we will be sure that He offers us forgiveness and that the blood of Christ is powerful enough to wash away all our sins, however great, however burdensome they are to us. WE do not despair for WE are a people of hope.

Rather we rejoice in our REPENTANCE because we have a Saviour, who died for our sins, and offers His merciful love to us each and every day.

There it is … three clear, simple steps to living the life of The Risen Christ, to starting our Lenten journeys and I’ve had no need to make things complicated:

Give yourself to Christ in Baptism.

Talk to God regularly to help overcome temptation.

Repent, accept forgiveness, and go out and spread the good news by word and action.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMINE>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Everlasting God, Your son Jesus Christ was tried and tempted by the devil. May we never be ashamed of temptation but saved from the weakness of giving in.  Help us choose the way of faithfulness rather than popularity, service rather than fame and sacrifice rather than power.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Gracious God, we pray for the whole family of Your people around the world. May we be built up in faith and demonstrate in our lives the gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to play our part in the life of the world; through our prayers and by our gifts of money and service during this season of Lent and beyond. Give courage to those who find it hard to follow you. Give us a fresh vision that leads to action and strengthen us to serve you in the places where we live.  

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Creator God, we pray for those in positions of authority and leadership; that they do not misuse their powers but respect and care for all their peoples and for the natural resources of their countries.

During Lenten fasting may we be constantly aware of those in our world who are always hungry and thirsty and of all those who have so little when others have so much.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Father God, we ask you to protect our loved ones, our friends and our neighbours. We pray that this Lenten season may bring grace to our friends and relatives who no longer practice their faith, and that they may return in the certain knowledge of your loving acceptance of them.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Loving God, we pray for those who are ill and in pain, longing to live full lives, for those who are sad and hurt longing for comfort, for those in hospital awaiting treatment, for those convalescing, seeing an end to their suffering and for those whose only relief will come through death.

May we always offer gentle support to those in trouble, sensitive encouragement to those in need, and strength and support to those in weakness. We especially raise before you now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we pray for those saddened by the death of someone close to them. Give them Your comfort as they mourn for their loved ones and turn their darkness into light.  We commend to Your everlasting love and care those who have died praying that they will rest eternal in the light of Christ.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Gracious God, help us to see this time of Lent as an opportunity to develop our discipleship and discipline and as your Son Jesus showed us how to honour our baptism, reject temptation, and go out into the world. Father, fill us with grace to be faithful to His example in this Lenten season and the years ahead.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:

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.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:


God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and


The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.


Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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