Tag Archives: praise

Pray into every plan

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 35

Prayer is a natural normal part of our creation care as we rely on God’s guidance, surrender our hopes and plans, uphold each other, and return praise and thanks for God.

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From the chapter See Where God Takes Us by Honey Thrupp
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Loving God of Aotearoa

A Thought for Today

Loving God of Aotearoa

Loving God of Aotearoa,
hear now our call to you,
We have gathered in your presence,
to celebrate anew!
We have come from many places,
speaking, thinking differently,
But in you we are united,
one whole, strong family.

Let us heed your call to service
and follow lovingly,
May we be compassionate people,
alive in you and free.

Scripture tells of faithful people,
who spread your light and love.
Now inspire, lead, direct us,
so we can be like them.
May the Way that Christ has taught us,
and the power of your Word,
Set a fire burning in us,
for justice and for love.

Rimu tall, with tui singing,
proclaim your majesty,
You who care for all creation,
will always care for me.
Matariki’s spirit guide us,
rise within us all the year.
Help us live and speak forgiveness,
your people want to hear.

* * * * *

About this hymn

Rev Desmond Cooper, our minister at the time, was president elect of the Methodist Church in 2010 and wanted a song for the Induction service at Conference. He mentioned that he liked Holst’s tune Thaxted (I vow to thee my country) but would prefer alternative words that were less nationalistic.

Loving God of Aotearoa is the result. I consulted Desmond and vice president elect Susanne Spindler as the lyrics were being written and they smoothed off a few rough corners. The hymn is dedicated to Desmond and was sung at the Methodist Conference in Palmerston North in 2010.

This poem is found in my collection of, music, prayers and poems: Kindle a Flame
which you can download as a free 30 page PDF eBook when you sign up for our email newsletters.

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Accepting the Challenge

A Thought for Today

“…What extra meaning might we take from this story today?

Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Just two more sleeps as we tell the young children. As children we loved Christmas because we knew we were going to get special presents and eat special food.

And, because we loved the nativity stories about baby Jesus in the manger and the shepherds and the kings and the angels. And maybe we got to be in the Christmas play and learned beautiful carols for the first time.

With this childish wonder and delight we began our faith journey, a life-long journey. We have had good companions along the way to share with and challenge us and support us, as we grow to new and deeper understandings of the good news of God’s love for us.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle Christmas shopping, and end of year parties, and worrying about whether family members who don’t meet during the rest of the year are going to get along this time round… or what have you.

We know another story, of a brave young woman who accepted the challenge of being the bearer of a child who would become the symbol of God’s love for the world.”

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From the sermon – Journey in faith – 23 December 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Love is the point

A Thought for Today

“Do we understand the mechanism by which Jesus healed people? I don’t. Medical science lets doctors remove a cataract and enable people to regain clear eyesight. That makes sense. All people in the gospel reading needed to do was touch Jesus’ cloak, once. How could that logically work? Did these miracles really happen? That’s not the point.

Love is the point. Being involved with others in need is the point…

There is another link to Festival Singers in the song that I’ll play for you before the offering. Rosemary Russell, the composer is the choir’s director. As well as a knack for words and melody, she has a strong faith that shines through all her compositions, and they are all uplifting. Her song is about the choices we make in living our lives and responding to need.

It’s how we live that matters.
It’s who we live for that matters.

God is love, God gives love,
God shows love, we are God’s love.


* * * * *

From the sermon – Love in Action – 22 July 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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How should we spread the Good News?

A Thought for Today

“…Jonah just stood up in the middle of the street and shouted at people.

The way we tell God’s message needs to be adjusted for each situation.

At this point, I imagine Jonah was expecting to be arrested for disturbing the peace and chucked out of the city. At the very least he could expect to be jeered at and heckled. Or maybe worse, just be ignored. He would have been watching for trouble and scared.

Now the story turns. The Bible says, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.”

They stopped doing evil, repented and turned their lives around.

Jonah’s mission was a total success. He didn’t expect it.

How does Jonah react? If you go on to read Chapter 4 at home, you will see that Jonah sulks. It’s as if he wanted the people of Nineveh to be destroyed by God.

* * * * *

We need to be sure of our motivation when we tell the Good News.

God used an ordinary, grumpy, ungrateful chap like Jonah to talk to the people of Nineveh.

What then is there to stop us sharing the Good News with the people we meet?…”

* * * * *

From the sermon – How should we spread the Good News? – 22 January 2012
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Living with Real Hope

Thought for the day:

“…What is the nature of hope?

Let’s contrast it with hopelessness. If we have no hope, what do we do? Nothing. We give up. We take no action. Ah, what’s the point?

So, to take the opposite hopeful position, means that we are compelled to act, to help in whatever way is realistic and meaningful for us. John Wesley lived a frenetic life, helping and getting involved wherever he felt he could do good.

Perhaps, we of more mature years, are past the stage of youthful protest and activism, and can be more effective in other ways.

Within the Methodist Church, the Public Questions Network is being revived. One of the topics it is focusing on is sustainability. Can we become involved with and support its consciousness raising work on social issues and justice?

* * * * *

What else can we do…?

The world is a challenging place and the future appears uncertain.

We have a choice about how we respond – with despair or with hope. Not a fool’s hope, not a trivial hope – “I hope the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup.”

No, a real hope, underpinned by the grace of a loving God who welcomes us,
and invites us to be part of the work of the kingdom here on earth.


* * * * *

From the sermon – Living with Real Hope – 17 July 2011,
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 23

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 23

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Labour Day 25th October

(Nearest Sunday)

God of Nations, we are proud of ours and give thanks that we live in this country.
We are proud to own a founding document,
conceived in a time of peace.
Most treaties are the result of war,
but Our Treaty offers the hope of covenant.
We give thanks that we live in a place of peace and
good intention.

We know human rights do not simply happen,
they are initiated by people of vision,
Negotiated by people wanting justice,
and often achieved at considerable cost.
We give thanks for our forebears who worked for justice.

Despite our proud record of justice and
good working conditions,
Some of our citizens are exploited,
disadvantaged and dis-empowered,
Be with those who are working for justice now.

Despite our fine laws on human rights,
some of our citizens continue to be discriminated against, through circumstances of education, employment, race, disability, gender, and sexual orientation.

We pray for those who are over-worked,
and those who are unemployed.
We pray for the ill-treated, the un-treated,
the dis-empowered and the ignored.

We pray for all who oppress,
be they deliberately malicious or merely insensitive, bosses or bullies, law-makers or church-people;
may they be confronted by their actions
and moved to bring change.
May wisdom prevail.

We pray for families,
in all their diversities,
whatever form they take,
that love may prevail. Amen.

From: Lay Preaching Basics by Rosalie Sugrue (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 18

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 18

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Only a Prayer Away (Poetry)

As we journey daily through our lives
we are glad we do not travel alone,
that you are beside us God unseen and unobtrusive
yet only a prayer away.

Providing strength when we are weak,
rest when we are weary,
comfort in times of hardship, hope when our faith falters,
and encouragement when our courage fails.

Although we stumble from time to time
and get side tracked into unprofitable ways,
and although negative attitudes slow our progress
and we persist with burdensome behaviours,
Lord you never leave us to struggle on alone.

Rather, you are ever loving, ever merciful.
You understand our inadequacies and forgive our misdeeds.
You are gracious in spite of our gracelessness.
Kind in spite of our spitefulness,
and gentle even when we lack empathy.

This way we are travelling
is not the route we would have chosen, Lord.
In trust we are walking pathways you lead us on,
guided in our pilgrimage by scripture our road map,
to the destination you have prepared.

As we travel, we give thanks
for the companions you have provided
to accompany us on this life-long journey,
and for those who share our joys and sorrows.
We give thanks for your constant presence Lord,
for being as close as a prayer away.

As you travel beside us,
teach us to become more like you God,
to love like you do without reservation,
to be merciful like you are without hesitation, and
to give of ourselves with unbounded generosity,
and help us to always remember
that you are as close as a prayer away. Amen.

From: Prayers for Southern Seasons: Poems and prayers for Christian worship and devotions. By Joy Kingsbury-Aitken.

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 21

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 21

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Sea Song

Rippled sand
with strands of clinging seaweed
gulls floating effortlessly
   over the ever-changing blue
suddenly soaring up into deeper blue
wheeling and swerving
strong black backs, cruel beaks,
the busy pink-legged herring gulls
   scuttering before the foam.

And footsteps in the sand – whose are they?
And whence do they come, these marks of human contact
   fleeing the concrete prisons?
long, strong, steady, with tiny staggering prints beside.
He leaves the treadmill
raucous insistent clamour of phone
and endless words
with his small son
to enter a new world
  of wind
  and freedom
      of tiny crab, and fragile bird claw prints.

Together the man and child
laugh with the gulls
splash through the glittering wavelets
all care cast on the limitless ocean
flowing out – out – out
  to the misty horizon
where the sea meets the sky
and all is peace and light.

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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