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From the Keswick Convention 2017, which takes responding to God with gratitude as its theme. The speaker in the convention tent is Alistair Begg, a Scot who now ministers in the US.

From the Keswick Convention 2017 which takes responding to God with gratitude as its theme. The speaker in the Convention tent is Alistair Begg, a Scot who is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, heard on the radio and online around the world. Leaders: Peter Maiden and Alison Risbridger. Music leader: Colin Webster. Producer: Ben Collingwood.

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 6 Aug 2017 08:10



Please note:

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.

BBC opening announcement:

BBC Radio 4. It’s ten past eight. Today’s Sunday Worship was recorded in the main tent of the Keswick Convention in Cumbria. It’s introduced by Alison Risbridger and Peter Maiden.

Leader: Peter Maiden

Good morning. This week, Christians of all ages and denominations are here in the Lake District town of Keswick, taking part in the second week of a 3-week summer Convention which has been running for over 140 years. The Keswick Convention now attracts over 12,000 people from across the UK and from many parts of the world, and in addition has a vibrant programme for some 2,000 children and young people. Among the majestic hills and quiet waters of the Lake District, Christians come together every year to hear the Word of God, to lift their hearts and voices in praise, to encourage each other in prayer and fellowship, and to be inspired to serve God wherever He leads them.

And so we sing a hymn which celebrates God’s greatness, seen in creation and redemption, O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder.

Hymn 1 – O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder


Leader: Alison Risbridger
We pray together and confess our sins to the Lord

Loving God and Father, we thank you that we can gather from far and wide to meet as your people, all one in Christ Jesus. As we prepare to hear your word, sing your praises and come before you in prayer, we are conscious of our many failings. We ask you for forgiveness, forever grateful for the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from every sin, and for the empowering of your Holy Spirit that helps us to live to please you. In Jesus’ name.
ALL: Amen.

Hearing God’s Word is not an endpoint in itself. We are called to respond by living different lives, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our focus today is on responding with gratitude.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’.

The first reading comes from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Because of Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, and future appearing in glory, he insists Christians live differently.  We listen to God’s word to us.

Reading: Colossians 3:12-17
As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Leader: Peter Maiden
Our next song, by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman, is based on Psalm 103. It picks up the theme of gratitude for God’s goodness. It speaks of 10000 reasons for our hearts to find, to keep us keep singing.

Hymn 2 - 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord O my soul)

Leader: Alison Risbridger
One of our speakers this week is Dr Pete Williams, Principal of Tyndale House, Cambridge, an institution committed to promoting trust in the Scriptures. Formerly Senior Lecturer in New Testament in the University of Aberdeen, he's Chair of the International Greek New Testament Project, which exists to produce accurate critical editions of books of the New Testament. The project over the next twenty years is planning to produce new editions of all the Pauline epistles He gives us a window now on why he is grateful for the Bible.

Testimony: Pete Williams
I’m 46, and have the amazing privilege to spend 28 years of my life studying academically things related to the Bible. That’s not anything like long enough, but I know it’s longer than most people get. And as a biblical scholar and someone who also lives in a community of biblical scholars, I find myself surrounded by people who have read many books of the Bible hundreds of times and are still finding new things in the bible. I’m grateful that the more I’ve studied the more I’ve seen that the Bible really does hold together. No set of books has been so thoroughly studied, which means I can also thank God for all the people in the past who’ve studied and written about the Bible and all those scribes who copied it, and for all those translators who’ve translated it, often at great personal cost. But above all I’m thankful for the message of the Bible. I thank God that the Bible tells us how he made us, and though we turn away from him he hasn’t given up on us. He gave us prophecies telling of how his Son Jesus would come and save us, and I can thank God for that. I can thank God that Jesus died in my place. And I thank God that today I can join with large numbers of people here in this beautiful context of the Lake District, and thank God for all that he’s done for us.

Leader: Peter Maiden
Our next song/hymn continues our theme of giving thanks and praise to God. But the horizons now expand to include all nations of the world. We sing ‘May the Peoples Praise You’.

Hymn 3 – May the Peoples Praise You


Leader: Alison Risbridger
Our second reading comes from a parable Jesus told, recorded in Luke chapter 18, reading from Verse 9 from the Authorized version of the bible. It is told with the passion and surprise of an eyewitness account by Broadway actor, Bruce Kuhn.

Reading: Bruce Kuhn
Jesus spoke a parable unto certain of them that trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and yet despised others: Two men went into the temple to pray; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, saying God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of everything that I possess. The tax collector would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I say unto thee, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for he that exalteth himself shall be abased; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then gathered all the tax collectors, and sinners, for to hear him. And the scribes and the Pharisees murmered, saying This man consorteth with sinners and eateth with them.

Leader: Peter Maiden
Our speaker is Alistair Begg. Alistair is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on over one and a half thousand radio stations and online around the world. Before he speaks from Colossians 3, we sing again: the grateful response to all that Jesus Christ has done: ‘I will offer up my life’.

Hymn 4 - I Will Offer Up My Life

Sermon: Alistair Begg
If you require a rubber bath mat please contact reception, that’s the sign in my hotel bathroom. What’s troubling to me at least is not that I noticed it but that I actually thought about it! I’ve been surprising myself lately along these lines. Just on my way here I purchased a copy of a magazine called the Oldie, why? Well not because it tells me that there is an article concerning Joanna Lumley on how to look Ab Fab, but because I peruse the questions at the back of the magazine. Questions posed to Virginia Ironside.  And this question in particular and it’s answer. Under the heading, Life is absurd.

‘As I get older and older’, writes this individual, ‘I find it increasingly difficult not to think that life is absurd. For example I never asked to be born. I have no personal knowledge of my existence before I was born. But then I spent 25 years growing up and becoming a physician. I know now that in a few years time I am likely to be dead. And then I will return to the existence of which I have no certain knowledge. How do I explain this absurdity to my descendants? Answer: Don’t let on you’re baffled. Confuse the young by giving gnomic smiles and exuding a slightly unreal serenity implying great wisdom. All too soon they will discover for themselves that life is completely meaningless, and that all we can do is totter on to the best of our ability until we drop. Why?  Who knows…’

Clearly there is nothing like the prospect of death to clarify the issues of life. A response that is not unique.  For Shakespeare, ‘life’ he said ‘is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.’  Ernest Hemingway, ‘Life is a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness.’ And in a description of characters in one of Peter May’s novels he describes those, ‘treading water in a sea of mediocrity until sinking without trace.’  Christianity challenges such cynicism and does so by the announcement of the gospel. The wonderful story of what God has done for men and women in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us from sin, and from the devil and from death.

In most of our congregations there are those who quite honestly are trusting in their own goodness and therefore see no need of a Saviour, no one to whom they need to express deep-seated gratitude. The underlying notion is simply this. That God, if there is a God and if he is good, will presumably reward nice people for trying their best. At the other end of the spectrum there are those feeling themselves to be so messed up, so bad that in their case it is not that they see no need but rather that they see no hope. After all, how good would one have to be? When we come to the point that we say, I can’t do this then our pride is humbled.

When we read in the bible of all that Jesus has done on our behalf, then he deals with our despair. In our parable, there were two men that went up to the temple to pray. One who viewed himself as too good, the other who knew himself to be in need of mercy. Both of them were grateful. One was self-congratulatory, for his own self-righteousness he gave thanks and the other for the wonder of forgiveness.

The apostle Paul in his writing deals with gratitude in a fulsome way. In Colossians, 3 times within the space of 3 verses he mentions it. And that in contrast to the in-gratitude which he describes as a mark of those who remain outside of Christ.

I wonder where you are in this? I don’t want to end my life as a cynic. I want to live and eventually end my life as one who is grateful. I wonder have you ever thanked God that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life? Cynicism along with selfism and materialism and many other isms, each of them is self-depleting. It is a humble, thankful heart which gives evidence of a life transformed. I wonder have you ever said and meant it, thank you Lord for saving my soul, thank you Lord for making me whole, thank you Lord for giving to me your great salvation, so rich and free. With Paul, thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift for surely this is the essence of gratitude.

Song – Thankful (David & Yvonne Lyon)

Leader: Peter Maiden
That song was from Yvonne and David Lyon, and expressed our gratitude to God as our loving Father.

Prayers: Tricia Marnham
Let us pray.
Our Father, the beauty of the English Lake District causes us to thank you for your work of creation, and for your many good gifts to us as our loving Creator. Day by day we experience your grace and mercy, and we thank you for health and strength; for homes, family and friends; for true Christian fellowship across denominations and cultures; and for peace and safety. We thank you that you are the compassionate Father who loves every person he has made.

Lord, in your mercy,
Congregation: HEAR OUR PRAYER

We pray for the countries around the world experiencing war, terrorism, civil strife, or social breakdown. It saddens us that there are too many to name, but we lift these nations to you, the Sovereign Lord. In this world of turmoil, we pray for your peace and justice, for the intervention of wise Government, for the advance of the Christian gospel.

Lord, in your mercy,
Congregation: HEAR OUR PRAYER

Almighty God, we thank you for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We thank and praise you for making and sustaining us, and for giving us everything we need; most of all we thank you for your love beyond measure in sending your Son to die in our place. We thank you for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercy, that we may praise you not only with our lips but with our lives, that with truly thankful hearts we may give ourselves to serve you, and our lives may be marked by holiness and righteousness.

Lord, in your mercy,
Congregation: HEAR OUR PRAYER

We join together in the Lord’s prayer.


Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and glory are yours,
Now and for ever,

Leader:  Peter Maiden
Our closing hymn celebrates God’s great faithfulness to us, seen in great and small details alike.

Hymn 5 – Great Is Thy Faithfulness



  • Sun 6 Aug 2017 08:10

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