Sunday, 10 November 2013

Dedications for LPG

Matthew 5: 27-30

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
As many of you know I have been preparing a sermon on Sex. I am not sure if I will ever find either the courage or opportunity to actually give it but I thought I would give you a flavour.
The reading is one considered but rejected for this sermon, so when I accidently volunteered for the dedications to start this evening I thought I could share some thoughts on it.
So who is up for a little show!

You have preaching at you, right now, the closest thing you get now a day to an insane, Old Testament style prophet any church can find. I am sure I could get my hands on a fairly good knife and I am sure some good reverent or other would be okay to bless the fire.

Come on Brothers and sisters roll up, one quick cut and redemption and salvation can be yours, simple and quick and actually entertaining. What’s this, this passage is not supposed to be taken literally; it is a metaphor for the power of Christ. It means the old self will die and be burned and the new self will be better for it.
I have my doubt this passage is quite that tame but let us play the timid game, and ask ourselves one simple question. If we believe this is a metaphor why do we seek people actually do it. On not with actually factual knives and real flesh but something more precious than simple flesh, their souls, their very nature, their own selfhood?

I should know, in my foolishness as a young man I took the template of the perfect Christian and cut myself to fit. Anything that was unworthy of this template was cut off. Of course that which was most offensive to the church (well to be fair the one I saw on the telly) was anything sexual so that had to go, that had to be scourged.

I am not alone, what do you think those who don’t fit the template we have set do? They either mutilate themselves or leave. Homosexuals in the US seek a cure!  Prolife Christians perish rather than commit murder, peace loving Christians join the army to defend the faith, the week parade as the strong and the merciful ape the sometimes merciless church.

I promised this address would be short and so short it will be. We must be faithful to the scripture but we must not confuse the ideals set forth in divine revelation as anything other than an ideal to reach for. They depict the perfected end project set forth by God and only realizable when we ascend into God kingdom
On this earth the church has a different calling, the call of Christ. We must not shame, or exile those who fall short of God ideals for that is humanity, for they are the people Christ came to call. He came for the sinners; he came for the prostitutes, the forgotten, the dirty and the broken.

When I think of Christ, I think of him upon the cross and I remember once a preaching talking of the image of Christ on the cross and he said “this is not an image of man killing God, it is one of God unlimited forgiveness, look Christ arms are open to embrace the world who is rejecting him, look again Christ is forgiving those who are killing him”.

So let us end with scripture, and to Hosea Hosea 6 6
6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Let us not make sacrifices of the faithful anymore, let us not make the ideals of scriptures moral measurements, so we the fallen, feel safe to judge others against them. Let us instead like Christ embrace a fallen world and embrace and redeem those who fall short of God’s ideal. And be lifted together to the kingdom to be one of the body eternal.

Prayer based on Hosea 6 1-3
 “Come, let us return to the LORD.
We have torn ourselves to pieces
    but he will heal us;
We have injured ourselves
    but he will bind up our wounds.
We have murdered ourselves
2 After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.”
We shall walk with him as his children
To sacrifice, to kill, to injure no more
And there will be no more weeping or mourning
For the old order has passed away
For God’s kingdom has come

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sermon on sex

1 Corinthians 7-9
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 15 8-20

Brothers and sisters todays sermon is going to be difficult and uncomfortable for many of us – you have heard the readings and can probably guess the subject matter; love and sex. It has been God will that I give sermons on the day to day issues Christians face and which cause us to struggle and there is not greater issue of contention then sex and sexuality. So today we walk with God into this troubled land, hopefully to walk out whole again. 
This sermon will explore the bible teaching, church practice and modern approaches to sex concluding as always in the promise of forgiveness. 

As I hope you gained from the bible passages, the bible does talk of sexual relations, Paul especially. It is at the first reading 1st Corinthians 7-9 where we start, with the ideal. Chastity! It is almost laughably out of touch, but we should not be so quick to dismiss it, it was so central to the early church that it joined people in chased marriages (people of the same sex and not). So why is an idea so at odd with human nature the ideal? 
I think it is twofold. It is twofold; firstly it is the life Christ led. Christ represented and hopefully still represents the ideal human life for all God’s children therefore anything he did we should aspire to. Secondly it epitomizes the command to love one another without reward. If we love everyone equally, marriage is an exclusive type of love which leads to unequal love (you love your wife and children far more than your neighbor . So when the disciples ask Jesus who he favors  you could see it as who he loved more but Christ refused this debate by reaming chased.  In short Christ led a life of love without sex and this is the ideal to which the early church clung and to which we are still called. 

I stand before you as a virgin and I tell your brothers and sisters love without sex is not that hard, do we not have such relationships with are relatives and are friends, are we not called to give without receiving? It may seem very distant and alien but a live of love is a reward in itself.

I am not so foolish and inhuman to suggest this is for all. Even Paul concedes that God formed the institution of marriage. It is marriage to which  most Christians aspire and believe is the ideal. It is in the familiar passages in Matthew 19-6 which itself an echo is of is an echo of genesis 2-12 where we find marriage expounded most fully and I say fully half sarcastically. There is no great explanation here. Apart from god made man and women and they need, I assume. To become one in the flesh and once they are joined together (an act pre-ordained by God) no one can tear them asunder. 

Paul may have been idealistic about the sexual part of human nature but God was not, he understood that part of being male or female was a need to procreate and join with another. He knew also that this life was hard and had its troubles and beyond physical sustenance we would also need emotional sustenance. In order to fulfil human need scripture tell us that God created a partner for each of us and sealed us together in a bond that cannot be broken. 

Some may think it is to ignore reality to speak like this but in this sermon I am talking often of the ideal. We live in a time where some people seem to practice easy marriage but we Christians cling to the ideal of marriage. That God made for each of us a partner for life and joined us until death parted us. God knew in order to trust someone enough to join wholly with them that union must be irrevocable. The gospels are quite strict on what can dissolve this union, some say nothing and some say adultery but the point is we still believe I hope in the ideal, that when we marry we marry for life. 

I do not mean to argue that divorce is some terrible sin, though myself I am cautious in rejoicing in it. I am merely saying that marriage is ordained by God and the ideal (there is that word again) is a full marriage not one only about sex but one that fulfills the needs we have both emotional and physical. If a marriage fails, this need does not end so people must once more join but  simply because we accept that human reality often falls short of the ideals God sets before us does not mean we should indulge in hasty marriage or marriages of convince. The end of a marriage is to be lamented and the pain and the hurt cared for pastorally but the ideal is a worthy one ordained by God for us.  

I am sure there are still some out there who think of me as you must of Paul, out of touch, overly judgmental preacher who knows nothing about sexual lust and real human experience. Well there is truth in that but I am not without use quite yet. 

I know that a great many people today will not marry as virgins and they are not ashamed of this. They see sex as both recreation and a tool for deepening human relationships; sex is in this view the key to creating a solid framework on which a marriage can stand. I call this view sex within a loving relationship. 

Again we have move from the ideal, first from love without sex, then to love and sex within marriage and now to love and sex. I am not here to alter the law (as Christ said), you have heard the scriptures and you know the law but I am not here to condemn either. If we seek marriage to be a true union of people then maybe we will have to learn to live with sex within a loving relationship. 

As we move from an age where people looked to the church for the framing of their life, to one where they look all over, we can either accept that some don’t feel the need for a formal union but still “burn with passion” in the words of Paul or alienate more and more people. As I have said this is not the ideal but what I found great comfort in, is the second reading Romans 13:8-14, which reminds us that are first duty is to love on another and love does not do harm and I can think of little good in lecturing good Christians that their lives are commend or un-saveable due to sexual sin. 

As I showed the children we cannot love someone and child them at the same time. I am not asking us to abandon are ideals but to accept that there is a gulf between them and human reality and it the command of God to fill this gulf with mercy and acceptance, hoping that God will lead them from sin to full reconciliation with him. 
There is one change in the accepted views on sex, however, brothers and sisters that I wish warn against and this is sex only as entertainment. Our final reading Matthew 15 8-20 warns against the corrupting nature of sexual sin, it remains us that a corrupt heart is the result and will be the cause of such actions. Sex is not a toy; yes it may be enjoyable but its purpose is emotional as much as it is physical. If you run around sleeping with anyone, merely for the joy of it how are you living for the life immortal? What are you putting away in the kingdom to enjoy when you are called? God gave us scripture to improve us, he sent Christ to lift us, he set the ideal to aspire. See how far you have fallen from the ideal – love without sex and now sex without love! This is too far, this is too much.

Those who live like this pursue only the now; they have no sight on the eternal. Now often they believe they can only get emotional succor by trading sexual favor and that is partly are fault. They have found that others only want sex of them and act accordingly. They have no seen or felt close to the high ideals we preach about so often. Well we must show them, we must if we are in a relationship with them make a commitment, break the cycle and we must return to the very ideal we must show them love without sex is possible and is available here and now. 

On that final point I would equally like to rebuke the church. The church has far too often remained silent on the reality of sex and human relationships. On sexual sins it has created inhumane “human laws” which have been sauce of much misery and suffering. The church has treated sexual sin as unforgivable an equally scriptural indefinable position as sex without love. It has not preached as it should or acted in a loving way. Just as sex without love is indefensible so is rebuking without compassion. 

When I think of struggling single parent, divorce, overly burdened families all whom we have let down. We have set the ideal set forth in scripture as icons and sacrificed these people to them. When they need aid and forgiveness, we gave them dogma and judgment. We have confused the ideal way of life with the only way of life acceptable to god and we have punished continually those who have not lived up to it. 
Paul reminds us that love does no harm so why we must ask has the churches often unhealthy obsession with sex been so harmful. Often because it has been based on human morality, on wanting to control people rather than save and heal them. We have a chance to get ahead of the game as they say and be the church God calls us to be a church for sinners, for the single parent, for the sexually overly active for those made ill through sexual illness and the church for the prostitute. It is not random chance that these are exactly the people Christ eat with for he knew it was the people seen as unforgivable that needed God the most.

So where are we now, we have the ideal, we have “church life” and we have “Human life” which goes all the way to the ideal to the none ideal, in short we have gulfs. Gulfs between what people think is ideal, is okay, is acceptable, gulfs between the church and people and gulfs between the ideal and us. So what is the correct reaction? Is it to entrance and section of these gulfs; is it to turn these gulfs into moats?  Or is it to bridge these gulfs, to fill them with mercy and acceptance? I think we should think of what God did; God saw the gulf between him and his creation, he tried filling it with mercy and forgiveness but still the gulf existed. So he brigaded it, not with words but with deeds, not with an single outstretched finger but with two outstretched arms on the cross, that is the sort of bridged we need. 

This to me seems the obvious conclusion that the church and Christian approach to sex should neither be permissive (merely tolerating or glorifying whatever society thinks is okay) nor should it be lawful, moralistic and unrealistic. In the end we cannot reconcile with one another while we try and tell them off (chastise them), in the end we must tell people the good news. That God walks with us, that God understand the messy complex lives we lead and that his ideals are to lift us up not to keep us down. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Oos Christ and Sex

Call to worship: Romans 8:38-39

Hymn: 488: You showed us mercy when we were in darkness  

Prayer of adoration 

Prayer of thanksgiving

All age address: We cannot embrace and push away at the same time 

*Hug pshy well trying to tell him off 

Hymn: 492: Christ be my leader 

Reading: 1 Corinthians 7 1-8

Reading: Romans 13 8-14

Reading: Matthew 15: 8-1

Lord prayer 



Christ virginal love is ideal

Sex within marragie 

Sex within love 

Don’t abuse others

Look after your children 

Neither permissive – bible does speak out against 

We cannot reconcile and chaste  

God always forgives 

Hymn Are you washed in the blood of the lamb 


Prayer of confession & forgiveness 

Hymn: 233: When Jesus came to Jordan 

Prayer of unity – StF 606 

Prayers of intercession

Hymn: How great they art 


Monday, 21 October 2013

Good news proclaimed

Order of service:

Call to worship: Romans 1:16-17

Hymn: StF 406 Have you heard the good news?

Prayers of intercession

Presentation of the gifts to Samaritans

Prayer of thanksgiving

Plays pass the parcel with the children

Talk of the gift of the gospel

Hymn: H&P 132 when Jesus came to Jordan

Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Talk on proclaiming the gospel

Hymn StF God’s spirit in my heart

Talk what is the good news?

Reading: Revelation 21:1-4

Hymn: When the roll is call up younder

Reading: John 3:11-21

Talk what is the really good news?

Prayer of confession & forgiveness 


Hymn: StF 345 And can it be


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Birthday service

Order of service:

Call to worship: Romans 1:16-17

Hymn: StF 406 Have you heard the good news?

Reading: Psalm 96

Talk: The gift of the gospels / why we must tell

Prayer of adoration

Prayer of thanksgiving

Hymn: H&P 132 when Jesus came to Jordan

Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Talk on proclaiming the gospel

Hymn StF God’s spirit in my heart

Talk what is the good news?

Reading: Revelation 21:1-4

Hymn: The Old rugged cross

Reading: John 3:11-21

Talk what is the really good news?


Prayer of confession & forgiveness 

Prayers of intercession

Hymn: StF 345 And can it be


Monday, 26 August 2013


Symon Turner

Personal Profile:

I am an enthusiastic, creative and dedicated individual who until recently was employed as an Operations Analyst at Westcoast, an IT distribution company, dealing with high levels of complex data and customer and marketing databases via Excel.  I have achieved a Masters degree in Political Theory and a 2-1 BA (Hons) degree in Public Policy and Management studies.  During my three years at Westcoast I gained a reputation for problem solving, clear thinking and strong project implementation skills, as well as excellent team working, working closely with the HR and sales teams. I am looking for a role in data reporting and I have always been interested in delivering the best data solutions possible.

Key achievements:

  • Created Westcoast reporting structure: There was none when I started and I instigated all reports
  • Created all of Westcoast various databases, utilising only existing data
  • Created various KPI tracking reports utilising Excel
  • Mastered Excel including pivot tables and v-lookups
  • Used SAP to gain information form
  • Provided a uniform customer and product tracking system linked in with risk and ensuring accesses for both sales and product teams

Employment Experience:

Westcoast LTD: Arrowhead Park, Arrowhead Road, Theale, RG7 4AH:  May 2007- April 2010

Westcoast: October 2009 – April 2010   Operation and System Analyst

·         Migrated Westcoast’s entire reporting system on to Qlikview:
I achieved without disruption to the reporting function at Westcoast.  Also managed via Qlikview to increase the range and depth of the reports produced.

·         Merging databases:
Merged XMA’s company database into Westcoast’s database within a tight three day deadline and monitored the database thereafter. Utilising SAP to gain information from XMA

·         Liaising with all departments within the business:
Acted as a bridge between other departments and IT.  Understanding both the business need and the systems required to meet these, and communicating this to IT.

·         Analysing and resolving operational issues:
Resolved issues surrounding a customer rebate system by creating a new system and new reports.  Resolved issues around a complex recording and usage system by creating new guidelines.

·         Training and Knowledge Transfer:
Trained staff in Excel.  Provided Excel and other system based advice and guidance to all Westcoast employees.

Westcoast: November 2007 – October 2009        Information Co-ordinator
·         Created and implemented all of Westcoast’s Marketing and Sales databases.  Liaised with IT to utilise information in a more efficient way.  Administered and managed these databases.
·         Created ah-hock sales reports for business
·         Date entry of customer details and product and stock level
·         Management of customer rebates:
·         Trained staff in Excel
·         Created a reliable and accurate customer rebate, accrual, monitoring and payment system.
Westcoast: May 2007 – November 2007                Sales administrator

·         Providing customer quotes and stock level information to customers through statistical, customer focused reporting.  Processing customer orders, dealing with customer enquiries, assisting customers with technical assistance. 

Technical skills:
·         Computer literate with a proven track record in using Microsoft Office as well as other database software – undertook VBA training
·         High attention to detail and processes:
·         Excellent Excel skills including pivot tables and v-lookups
·         Ability to work to tight deadlines:
·         Managing companywide reporting, ensuring all reports were produced according to schedule.
·         Problem solving:
·         I was responsible for creating new reports by overcoming systems issues and utilising Microsoft Office, VBA and Qlikview
Personal skills:

·         Good with people and able to communicate with a wide range of people
·         Friendly and well mannered
·         Effective communicator
·         Dedicated and loyal

Education and Qualifications:

November 2009
VBA Training

2005 – 2006
MA in Political Theory, University of Essex

2002 – 2005
2-1 BA (Hons) Public Policy and Management Studies, DeMontfort University: Leicester
Merit HND Public administration, DeMontfort University: Leicester

1994 – 2002
AVCE Business: C C, Highdown Sixth Form
5 GCSE’s Grades B-C


·         Reading: both fiction and none fiction
·         Politics: I tweet and blog and keep well informed
·         History: visiting British historical monuments
·         Church: I assist them with their AV and I am door steward
·         Grading

References available on request

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Being angry with God Oos

Order of service: 25082013

Call to worship: Matthew 11:28-29

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I am sorry my friends that I cannot say this will be an easy service, there may be time when the good news seems far of but let our first hymn be always in are hearts, let our first hymn be the message of this service 

Hymn H&P 559: What a friend we have in Jesus

Prayer of adoration / Thankgiving
Hymn: StF 526: Lord of all hopefuless

Being angry with god intro
·        God on a pedestal
·        God the vengeful and ever judgmental
·        Pain and suffering falls on us all
·        You can harm someone but not sin against them

Reading: Psalm 13 1-4
Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-10

Short talk on how to walk with God
·         When we our anger bring it to God
·         God knows our pain
·         God walks with us
·         He will wait for us  

Reading: John 6 35-40

Reading: John 3: 16-18


·        Hate destroys our relationship with God

·        God will heal us

·        We must forgive to be forgiven

Sometimes when we are angry or in pain we make matter worse by judging God reaction or by missing his call – our next hymn reminds us that Jesus is always calling to us no matter how far we are from him

Hymn:  Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling

Lived prayer of forgiveness and confession

Lord's prayer (Sung)

Ofertory (collected but brought up during the prayer of dedication – just left on alter)

Prayer of dedication

Why does God pursue is? Why does he never repay are hate with hate because God is love because he loves us, because we our his chosen children – are next hymn is a hymn of celebration of this reality

Hymn Stf 443: Come let us sing a wonderful love

Prayers of petitions / intersession

All age address:
·         Ask them how they’d cross various obstacles
·         The obstacles we put between us and God 
·         What God done to come to them

If we allow God to find us, he will change us from this earthly glory to his glory, his love is transforming turning our anger into love – so let us rejice in this reforming love with our last hymn

Hymn: Stf 503: Love divine, all love excelling


Prayers of dedication

Prayer of dedication
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant

I will put my laws in your minds
    and write them on your hearts.

I will be your God, and you will be my people.
You are my people because you all know me,
 from the least of you to the greatest.
you are my people because you have forgiven other in my name

Because you have done this I have forgiven you wickedness

Because you have done this I adopt you as my children

Brother and sister let us affirm our covenant with God

We affirm with glad heart and free wills
Our faith in the life and resurrection of Christ
That God has granted each of us the gift of his holy sprit
And through his son paid for our sins

I am no longer my own but my Gods
I give you my life to serve Gods will
I give up myself to further his glory

Whatever my come in this life
Wherever my lord sends me
Whatever task my father has set aside for me
In the good times and the bad
I will only say let your my lords will be done
I will place his calling before my self
I will do his work before the work of this world
I will serve his people before my self

I ask only this of you lord.
When I turn from the broken of the world you open my eyes once more
When I refuse to hear your call, you make me hear
When I fail you lord your forgive me
And when I cannot carry your cross you walk with me and we shall carry it forever

We have made this affirmation and we shall live it
Not because it shall earn us forgiveness
Not because it shall gain us golden houses in the kingdom to come
Not even to be counted first in heaven

We have made it out of thanksgiving for the mercy of the lord
We have done made it as an act of love for his mercy
We have done it to build his kingdom of low
We have done it for he has written his law on our hearts
We have done it because he set us free from sin.