Notes of Meeting Sunday 4 September 2022

Worship led by Brian Legg

Isaiah 26: 3 & 4, and Jeremiah 10: 10  - the ETERNAL God

SONG 145: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise


God made himself known to us through Jesus – Hebrews 1: 2 & 3

Two songs now to bring our praise to Jesus.

SONG 935: My Jesus, my Saviour 

SONG 870: Jesus in the name we worship

Just look there at all He gives us –

  • Joy, peace, strength, hope
  • Love, freedom, life, warmth
  • Forgiveness, security, power, love

And all by His eternal grace.

Remain seated now for a quieter song which again look at the ways Jesus blesses us each day.

SONG 877: Jesus, what a beautiful name 

How is all this possible for us, guilty sinners in God’s sight? Only because He, the Lord Jesus, laid aside his majesty and came to this earth , to die, to set us free.

SONG 633: You laid aside your majesty

Above all, what counts most is that He not only died, but that God raised Him from the dead.

1Corinthians 15: 12 - 20

 Yes, as our next song reminds us, HE HAS RISEN.

SONG 753: He has risen

Yes, we worship and serve a risen Saviour.

1Peter 4: 10 - 11

SONG:  I serve a risen Saviour 




Ken’s Talk

The Book of Happiness  Psalm 1.1-3

What do people pursue most?  If you Google that question you will probably find happiness is right at the top of the list.  People pursue a successful career, to make money, an ambition, to get married and have a family and many other things in order to find happiness.  Amazon recommends 100 must read books to find happiness.  By the time you have read those books you will probably be at the end of your life!                  Is there one book that we can read where we can find the way to happiness?  The book of Psalms is the place where happiness is mentioned most.  The bible uses the word “Blessed” for happiness and it is mentioned over 30 times in the book of Psalms.  The very first word of the Psalms is “Blessed” which could summarize the whole book. The literal meaning of blessed is “O how happy.”  The word also in is the plural so speaks of the joys of happiness.  God wants us to have abundant happiness.  Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10.10)  That means to live with true joy, satisfaction and hope.  Why is it then that so many pursue happiness but don’t seem to find it?  There could be at least two reasons.  One is that they are looking in the wrong place for it.  People seek happiness through a career, marriage, a happy family, sport, hobbies and many other things.  These things do give a measure of satisfaction but don’t fulfil all our true longings and only give a temporary joy which soon fades.  Jesus says he is the source of life in its fullness.  Seeking and finding Him is the key to true happiness.  People make the goal of their lives happiness but true happiness is the by-product of making Jesus the goal of my life.  Jesus says “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.”  (Matthew 6.33)  The “all things” that God gives us is all we need for true happiness. 

 One other reason is that we seek a happiness that just makes us feel happy. Happiness in the world is a “feeling good factor” through circumstances that are pleasant.  I go to the cinema and see a good film and feel great but when the film has finished so does my feeling good finish.  Worldly happiness is changeable because circumstances around us aren’t always good, so I can’t always feel good.  Even though Psalms speaks much about happiness it is also a book of lament, trial and suffering where David cries out in prayer seeking deliverance from trouble and even death  Happiness as defined by the bible isn’t the absence of suffering, pain and trouble.  Can there still be happiness in the midst of trouble and trial?  The normal person when faced with trials like sickness, bereavement and bad news would say their happiness has gone.  However, the happiness that is described in the bible can still be experienced even in the most trying and difficult circumstances. Paul and Silas sang praises to God in a smelly, damp and dirty prison with their feet in stocks and their backs still in pain from being flogged.  Their joy wasn’t dependent on their outward situation but it was still alive and well in their hearts through their faith and the presence of God with them.  The key to happiness at all times is the realisation and experience of God’s Presence with us.  David says, “You will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psalm 16.11) No matter what difficult circumstances we face, the experience of God’s presence in the midst of them still gives us joy. 

Recently I was listening to the testimony on Joni Erekson.  55 years ago when she was a teenager she had a swimming accident that left her paralysed from the neck down.  She was asked what her biggest problem was since the accident.  She replied it was the chronic pain she continually had.  You would think there could be no pain if there was paralysis.  She was then asked what she thought about the pain she had to endure.  She said it was her friend to drive her to God and enjoy his presence.  The presence of God gave her greater joy than the chronic pain she endured.  James tells “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1.2)  Knowing God is with us in the trials and He is working for our good enables us to have joy even in difficult times.  This is the kind of happiness that God has provided for us. How can we experience it? 

It begins with what we don’t do.  There are three negatives in verse 1. “Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, don’t stand in the way of sinners and don’t sit in the seat of mockers.” 

It doesn’t seem a good start to happiness to concentrate on what you should not do.  No isn’t an attractive word so why can’t we begin with something more positive.  One of the first words a child hears is “No.” The child throws her food on the floor and the mother says, “No, you must not do that.”  Then the child takes another child’s toy and hears, “No, that’s wrong.”  This is repeated many times because the child finds it natural to do the wrong thing rather than the right thing.  The parents don’t teach them to do wrong but corrects them.  If the parents continually allow them to do wrong they will grow up selfish, unkind and unhappy.  They must learn the meaning of No, before they can appreciate the meaning of Yes.  God’s first condition for happiness is to say No to sin.  The Christian life begins with repentance which means turning away from sin and God calls us to continue in the same way after becoming a Christian.  The Bible clearly states “And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God.”  (Titus 2.12 NLT)  God calls us to live holy lives.  That doesn’t mean we need to go to a monastery and pray and study about God all day.  To live a holy life is to live like God in the normal world, which simply means, to live like Jesus. 

The first negative is “Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” Temptations to sin can come through the people we listen to.  We are told not follow the advice of those who oppose God.  We come across many voices through radio, TV, social media and people we meet.  Generally it is a world that doesn’t reckon with God at all.  We need to be careful what we hear because it is easy to speak like them without noticing it.  At the beginning of the 1900’s, musicians noticed that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they rode around on their bicycles making their deliveries.  They eventually discovered that the reason for their poor pitch was that the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune.  The boys had unconsciously copied their pitch.  In the same way we too unconsciously copy the words and ideas of those we associate with.  This does not mean we shouldn’t have friends who are not Christians at all.  The friends of Jesus were sinners and tax collectors which weren’t good people.  Jesus didn’t become like them but saw many come to follow after him.  As we mix with our non-Christian friends let’s pray we won’t speak like them in ungodly words but rather be used by our speech to speak them about Jesus.   

The second negative is “Don’t stand in the way of sinners.”  If we begin to follow the advice of our non-Christian friends we will eventually act like them.  As the verse says we will stand with them in the way of going away from God.  This often happens gradually which we don’t recognise at the beginning and when we do it is sometimes too late to change.  There are some of my friends in my teenage years that followed Jesus but sadly today they don’t because they followed the way of their non-Christian friends. 

 The third negative is, “Don’t sit in the seat of mockers.”  Notice the last stage is sitting with the mockers.  They have gone so far back that they are fully identified with those who clearly oppose God and ridicule the faith.  Notice the downward trend of their decline.  Listening and taking the advice of the unbeliever, beginning to walk like them and finally sitting with them being fully identified with them.  We might think there is no way back to God for those who have gone so far back.  However we can be encouraged with example of Peter.  He listened and took on the advice of the crowd believing Jesus to be a political Saviour to save the Jews from the Roman Empire.  He also didn’t take the advice of Jesus when he was told  he would deny him three times.  When Jesus was arrested and led away we read that Peter “followed at a distance.”(Luke 22.54)  He wasn’t walking with Jesus but with the crowd.  Then we read “Peter sat down with them” (Luke 22.55) that is Jesus’ accusers.  When Peter was asked if he was one of his disciples he denied it three times.  Was there a way back to Jesus for Peter?  He repented with tears.  After the resurrection Jesus came seeking for Peter personally and met him.  He was totally restored and re-commissioned by Jesus to serve him as a leader of the church.  How wonderful to know that if we should fall Jesus is always ready to receive us back into fellowship and service.  Let’s keep praying for those we know who used to follow Jesus but no longer do so. 

To experiencing the happiness that God has for us we first must say no to sin.  But the Christian life is not just about having victory over sin even though that is a wonderful thing.  Alongside the negative of not sinning is the one positive thing of giving priority to God’s Word as stated in verse 2, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Just as there must be a dedicated focus and action not to sin, so there must be the same attitude and mentality to give God’s word a prominent place in my life.  Why is this so?  Knowing and doing God’s word is essential to experience the true happiness God desires us to have.  Giving priority to God’s word is divided into two parts.  The first is to delight in the law of the Lord, which is his Word.  Is God’s word a delight or drudgery to us?  It can become drudgery when we forget the purpose of God’s word.  The main purpose of God’s Word is to meet God.  It isn’t just a text book about God.  We can only delight in God’s Word as we are encountering him in his word.  If we are not delighting in his word it could indicate we are not meeting him in his word.  The bible isn’t just a book that teaches us about God but it is God’s love letter to us.  When Chris and I were courting we didn’t live in the same town so love letters were very important.  If we are not seeing God in His word it will just be just like studying a subject.  There is saying “out of sight, out of mind”.  There were a couple who in love but the man had to go away and for a long time so she didn’t see him.  However, he wrote every day and so the postman came to her house every day.  The girl eventually got married.  She married the postman!  As he came every day she got to know him and fell in love with him and so married him.  Let’s pray we will see Jesus each day we read his word so our hearts will burn within us as he speaks to us. 

The second command to obey in showing our priority of God’s word is to meditate on God’s word.  It isn’t enough just to read it as a habit for it will not make much difference in our lives.  When we just read it we soon forget and there is little impact on our lives.  We are not thinking of meditation as in the eastern culture where they try to empty the mind to find their inner self.  That can be dangerous allowing unhealthy things to enter our minds.  Meditation in the biblical sense is filling my mind with God’s word.  It is not just reading God’s word but feeding on it.  Letting  it sink down into our hearts and minds  and memorise it asking questions about it.  It need only be a short phrase or sentence.  The best illustration of meditation is the cow chewing on her cud.  She grazes on the grass in the morning then in the middle of the day she lies down and begins to chew the cud.  She brings up the grass she had in the morning and chews it over and over again.  That is what we do when we meditate.  We go over what we have read again and again.  In this way the word of God is taking root in our hearts and it gives a real sense of God’s presence.  This can go on “day and night” as a continual practice.  In this way memorizing God’s word can become easier, so as we know God’s word we can obey it.  So as we delight in God’s word by meeting God and as we meditate deeply on it we grow in God and can experience the happiness God has for us.  What does this inner happiness look like on the outside?  In verse 3 it is depicted as a tree of strength and stability.  Its source of power is the streams of water by which it is planted.  Those streams of water speak of the Holy Spirit.  The truly happy Christian is one not living in his own strength but that of the Holy Spirit.  It is a fruitful tree for all to see.  That fruit is seen both in holy living and fruitful service.  The fruit of that service doesn’t appear in the time we would like to see it but in its season, which speaks of God’s time.  No matter what season it is its leaf doesn’t wither and die.  It’s ever green and never fails to bear fruit.  Whatever the happy Christian does, it prospers for God is working all things for his good and God’s glory.  As people around look at us can they detect the happiness that God has blessed us with?  God has blessed us not only for our own good, but also that we might become a blessing to others.  May we this week be able to show others the happiness that God has given us.



  1. Speaker next Sunday – Brian Legg
  2. Harvest Thanksgiving – 2nd October; financial gifts will go to Tearfund for relief work in Pakistan.
  3. Coffee Morning – resumes on 21st September at 10.30am

Wednesday ZOOM Bible Studies – recommence on