New church, devoting themselves to …

They (those converted at the Day of Pentecost, when Peter preached) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

New life, a fledgling church
in love, together bound.
They’d seen their guilt, rebellion, sin,
then God’s forgiveness found.

Baptized, they joined his church,
adopted, with new kin,
devoted to their Saviour’s Word
to grow in pleasing him.

Blest fellowship with all
who know Him, old and young,
the rich, the poor: all care and share –
God values everyone.

They love to meet to keep
remembrance of his death,
break bread his cov’nant to proclaim
‘til he returns to earth.

Delight to meet to pray
requests together raise,
the whole church asking God to bless,
unitedly they praise.

Devotion’s strength may lapse –
distracted by your cares?
or in your busyness, your love,
grown cooler, unawares?

Give thought to how you came
to be reborn, made new,
devotion rouse to Him who has
done wondrous things for you.

Tune: SM eg tune of ‘Blest be the tie that binds’

A friend of God?!

A treasured prize invaluable
– it should seem quite incredible
that God, Creator, holy, pure
could friendship want, desire, endure
with us – but it is so, we’re filled
with awe, and startled hearts are thrilled.

Religions fear a wrath they must
somehow appease if it is just,
and never could conceive, or dare
hope such a Being would, could care
for friendship – that would seem absurd,
until Christ’s victory is heard.

The access he has opened, and
now beckons, calls with love’s command
to all who hide: to come, receive,
repent of sins, draw near, believe.
Have you desired, asked him to be
your special Friend eternally?

For then you’ll taste that friendship warm
enjoyment in the calm and storm
in sharing, comforted – intend
to always please your Father, Friend,
and value friendship of all who
walk with him on this journey new.

James  2: 23 Abraham believed God … he was called God’s friend.

Tune: 88 88 88  eg Sussex Carol (tune of ‘On Christmas Night all Christians Sing’)
or eg Stella (tune of ‘Leave God to order all thy ways’) or Melita (tune of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’)

Encourage each other

Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3,4; Hebrews 10:23–25
Let us consider, and to this give thought:
all Christians need our interest and support,
and we, ourselves, need help, refreshment brought
from brothers in the LORD.

Cheer them up, lift them up, love them, let it show;
cheer them up, lift them up, tell them, let them know
you need their love and contribution, so
spur one another on.

Easy to criticize, and dampen zeal,
coldly discourage others; when you feel
thanks, praise, declare it, never joy conceal
from brothers in the LORD.

Scolding debilitates, be quick to cheer,
pointing to mercy, grace that’s always near,
Christ will provide, and we need never fear,
but serve and please the LORD.

So we’ll be strengthened to endure and fight,
joyful in telling of the truth and Light,
encouraged in his Word and Spirit’s might,
by brothers in the LORD.
Tune: O What a Saviour (Irregular) by James McGranahan (482 CH)

Prayer for our fellow-saints

(Ephesians 1:15–19)
Thank God for saints redeemed, – we see
their sense of need, humility;
they do not trust themselves, but must
his clear and reasoned message trust.

So pray we all will know him more,
our holy Friend know more and more:
the Spirit’s wisdom, grace and law
to know him better, and adore.

And thank him for the love that grows,
the sacrificial love that flows
among God’s people; – thank, and pray
they’ll know him better day by day.

God’s Word enlightens, and will stir
my conscience; – I must not defer
obedience: let his scripture fill
my heart with knowledge of his will.

And so I’ll better understand
the glorious future God has planned,
the riches now in Christ I own,
the power as yet I’ve hardly known.

Tune: LMD eg Guidance by W B Bradbury

Fellowship Support

(Hebrews 10:24,25)
Encourage each other, and come alongside
to call and to beckon; – discard all your pride,
and realise your need of a true loving friend
to urge you to keep with Christ through to the end.

For sin is deceitful, it makes itself seem
attractive and pleasant; we easily dream
and wander in by-ways. A true loving friend
will come and will stir me, exhort till the end.

For sin does not warn us of where it all leads,
the problems it causes, the trouble it breeds.
So stand on the gospel with Christ, to the end,
encouraging others – be truly a friend.

Lord, help me to talk of the truth that I learn,
have spiritual fellowship, godly concern:
I then can exhort and be truly a friend
to help all my brethren endure to the end.
Tune: 11 11 11 11 eg Montgomery by S Jarvis

Friendship

(Proverbs 18:24 etc. )
Created not to be alone, _
my Maker did intend
I love him with my heart and mind,
be to my neighbours good and kind:
a true and trusted friend.

We should endeavour to keep peace,
encourage and defend,
support and not retaliate;
good friendships try to cultivate,
to be a helpful friend.

And special, deeper friendships will
on openness depend;
consistently give love and care,
and thoughtfully advise and share:
to be a precious friend.

And Christ can make our love improve;
ill-treated hearts he’ll mend.
He never hurts by fickle mood,
he’s always working for our good:
the only perfect Friend.

Tune: ‘Rest’ by F C Maker