Yesterday was what is known in The Salvation Army in the UK as Commitment Sunday and ‘Go Deeper’ is the theme this year.
Song 279 from the Salvation Army Song Book began proceedings and scripture from Ephesians 1:3-8 followed. Songs of Fellowship 1113 introduced a time of prayer. The Singing Company brought ‘Teach me how to love thee’ as its musical ministry which was followed by song 281 (SA) and further scripture from 2 Peter 3:14-18. Yet further scripture (James 1:22-26 followed the offering and the Songsters brought ‘God loves you’ before Major Alec delivered the sermon and said:
When I first looked at this theme I was worried because the gospel is essentially simple and there are dangers in ‘going deeper’. We can easily lose sight of the simplicity of it. But it is our call and we cannot sit on the surface. We must go deeper to discover all that God has for us and our potential in him.
I want to look at three areas this morning. Firstly, we need to get deeper into our relationship with God. We need to grow in that relationship and to have a discipleship agenda in our church. Each of us must take responsibility for our own spiritual development and to do this we need to know God in depth.
Secondly, we must not become distant from our community. We must go deeper into our world. God himself is in ‘community’ and we must do his will. We must love the people we meet in the name of Jesus.
Thirdly, if we are to do either of these effectively we need to have a good knowledge of ourselves. Who we are. We must be his and his alone. He wants us to be his children and we must be seen as such. Only then can we serve the world.
Let me stop there so that you can consider if you are truly the child of God he wants you to be.
The evening took the form of a united ‘Songs of Praise’ with our friends at the Emmaus Church Centre, Christchurch Luton and St Stephen’s church. Each church leader led part of the evening and the songs chosen were ‘O for a thousand tongues to sing‘, ‘Before the throne of God above‘, ‘Praise is rising‘, ‘The splendour of the King‘, ‘We want to see Jesus lifted high‘, ‘All hail the power of Jesus’ name‘, ‘Simply trusting‘ and ‘ To God be the glory‘. The Songsters contributed ‘O to be like thee’ and the Band ‘The Healing Waters’. The Band also played out with a couple of rousing verses of ‘O boundless salvation‘.
Next Sunday Majors Alec and Andrea Still will be journeying to Bellshill to conduct the retirement of Bandmaster Ian Dickie. Meetings here will be led by Ruth Hardy (morning) and the Band (afternoon – 4pm).
We gain inspiration from many people around us and it was good to see Lt. Col. Ray Steadman-Allen in charge of a baton again during the morning meeting.