1 Samuel 16:7 — Verse of the Day for 08/03/2018


It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord.



Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue St Joseph


O Lord,

you always guide your people

whom you build up on the foundation of your love:

make us ever stand in awe of your Holy Name,

and love you in equal measure; 

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end.  Amen

1 SAMUEL 15:34-16:13
read by Margaret Morton

Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

God looks at the heart - Join Our Journey

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

2 Corinthians 5:6-17
read by Peter Boreham

So, we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

2 Corinthians 5:17 All Things New - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads - Bible  Verses To Go

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore, all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!


MARK 4: 26-34
read by Rev James Clark Maxwell

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 4 beginning at verse 26

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Vibrant Parish Toolkit: Sowing Mustard Seeds | LPi

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord


God looks at your heart not your outward appearance - CHRISTIAN PICTURES

‘People look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’

You will know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Appearance is not everything. Yet today in our world we’re so impressed with outward appearances! We are living in a culture which is overly obsessed with physical appearance. Surveys have shown that initial impression, how you dress or how you look is often the most important factor in getting a job. We spend millions of pounds on advertisements; on fashions and cosmetics which are intended to help us look better.

A survey was done on people who regularly go to health clubs for exercise. They were asked, “Is the primary reason you exercise to improve your health or your appearance?” Most said, “Appearance.” Many teens today suffer from eating disorders because they want to look slim. A group of college students was asked this question: If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be? We expect them to say, “I wish I were more intelligent, richer, fitter, or more popular.” But in this study, 90% said they would choose to change their physical appearance. That is the first thing that came to their minds. The girls wanted to be thinner, the boys wanted to be taller, and both wanted to be free of acne.

This is not just the teens. The millions of pounds that are spent on face lifts and plastic surgery each year show that appearance is something we see as very important. People are not just merely dissatisfied, many are depressed by their appearance and obsessed with finding a way to change it. Looking good is perfectly fine. Yet we must not stress its importance beyond what God intends. What is most important is our heart condition before God. We need to learn the same lesson that the prophet Samuel did thousands of years ago. It is not what we are like on the outside, but what we are like on the inside that really counts. God tells Saul, “I look at the heart.”; “I want to see your character.”

So, our culture might place an emphasis on possessions- what you have, reveals who you are. What accomplishments you achieve, point to the person you are. Whereas our culture places a high price on the externals, God critiques the heart. In Biblical thought, the heart was the central organ that controlled all activities thus determining the character of living. The heart housed the place where qualities worth having in our lives were first formed. The heart embodied the womb of character.

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover - YouTube

In selecting a new king, the heart of the person is important. Samuel is on a mission to appoint a new king. David was the eighth and youngest son in the family. His siblings and even his father did not rate him. His father did not think that seeing the great prophet Samuel, remember it is a big deal for a prophet to come to your house, was something worth inviting David to. David was not deemed important or special enough to attend. He was excluded from the gathering. It is interesting that the prophet Samuel the one who is normally able to see does not see. He assumes the new king will be the eldest. Yet God chose the youngest.

The young David was chosen. He was the skinny little sheep herder who became King of Israel, the man whom Samuel sought and found to succeed Saul. He was a mighty warrior, a valiant general, an inspired leader, a successful businessman, a skilled marksman, and a gifted psalm writer. But the thing that impressed God about David was his heart. God “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will carry out all My will” David allowed God to mould and fashion his heart into that which would be pleasing to him. God focused on his character more than physical stature. He concentrated on his integrity and not just outward looks.

God makes it clear what actually matters to Him is inner beauty. What is on the inside is what counts. It is here inside the heart, the core of a human’s moral, ethical and spiritual being, where God looks. Where others saw a typical teenager, God saw a king in young David. He saw David’s name being uttered in honour forever for even the Lord Jesus is called the Son of David! His family may have thought that David was too weak to use but nobody in God’s sight is too weak to use.

Think of different biblical characters and the tasks they were chosen for by God. More than likely, we would not have given them a second glance but God did. God saw in fearful Gideon a mighty man of valour and called him so, even when he was hiding from his enemies in fear. God saw in young David a king and anointed him as one. God saw in meek Moses a deliverer and drew him out from obscurity. Think too of Samuel, he feels at this point in his life that he is too weak to use. He is terrified to go into Bethlehem and to choose a king. If the present King Saul were to hear about this attempted coup, Samuel is dead meat. Saul will waste no time in cutting off Samuel’s head. Despite this fear and trepidation Samuel trusts God and sets out to do as God asks. He is an obedient servant who is used powerfully by God. He is part of God’s work.

Angie Karan - quotes, poetry, love & inspiration : Inner Beauty Captivates

You and I are also part of God’s work. It’s easy to feel like our lives are too small, too invisible, too insignificant to matter. Yet the God who sees David sees us. He has dreams for us that are bigger than we can imagine. So, take heart God sees our potential and wants us to realise it. He will delight in using our talents and gifts. God wants us to see ourselves and one another in the same way as he sees us. We look at outward appearance, God looks at the heart. We look for power, God looks for possibility.

God finds possibility in you and I. We are like David anointed for God’s work. God has chosen us- we are his anointed children. God has planted his seed of love, compassion and goodness in us. We might not be able to see this in ourselves. It is hidden like the seed and grows quietly and invisibly within us. With proper nurture the seeds in our heart will grow and in time will make God’s kingdom visible.

As we sow seeds in the lives of others, we need to remember it is a hidden and quiet work. It is not something that can be rushed. It takes time. The early disciples were struggling with this issue of time and results. They were discouraged for they did not see things happening, but God is always at work and is bringing forth growth. This parable of the seed is there to encourage the disciples to persevere and not lose hope.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my  head with oil; my cup overflows.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:5‬ ‭NIV… | Psalms, Bible  facts, Oil quote‬‬

In our culture today with church attendance falling, churches becoming more senior in age we might despair and think what will happen to the church. Will it survive? Size does not matter. It is the heart of the people in the church that matters and their willingness to sow seeds that will make all the difference. In many ways the parable of the mustard seed addresses this concern. Could God’s kingdom come from this small group of disciples? Mark’s reply was that the little cell of disciples could indeed become a kingdom.

Mustard Seed Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

It seems, that what life intends to be great, starts small. Many great things begin in small and hidden ways like the mustard seed. A building begins with one brick, a book begins with one word, a journey with one signal step, a giant oak from an acorn, a lifelong friendship from a chance encounter. Things that have a certain integrity and truth start from humble beginnings. Seeds need the darkness, isolation, and cover of the earth to germinate. Therefore, for something to begin small, hidden and anonymous is an advantage. It means it can develop away from publicity, from pressures, from the burden of expectations, and it can develop at its own pace. So, from the small group of disciples comes a kingdom, and so from struggling churches will come growth, if the heart is right and seeds of truth, love and compassion are sown in the local communities.

Growth may be difficult at times to see but Jesus tells us directly that the kingdom of God has come near. It is present right now. It might be small but it is growing. It might be hidden but glimpses of this kingdom can be seen. Even if the kingdom is the size of a mustard seed- even if it is hidden amidst the hurricanes and the fires, and the political controversy and the threats of war, the kingdom of God is there. And because it is a seed, it will grow. It will grow more than the early disciples could possibly imagine. This kingdom will grow to include the Gentiles, who are symbolised by the birds in this parable.

So, what are we called to do as God’s anointed children, what part are we meant to play in this kingdom building? Firstly, we are to remember that whilst appearance matters, our character and inner beauty matter more. We are encouraged in scripture to guard our heart as it is the seat of our attitudes and actions. To guard our heart, we need to turn our focus to God rather than to the demands and expectations of our culture. From our heart will come actions that will sow seeds in others.

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We can nudge the kingdom’s growth as we plant seeds. These seeds will often be small…the signing of a petition to help improve conditions for others… hidden work but it makes God’s kingdom visible; giving time and listening to someone who has mental health issues is making God’s kingdom visible; caring practically and sacrificially for a sick spouse or family member makes God’s kingdom visible; supporting a charity to help the most vulnerable makes God’s kingdom visible. We might wonder what can we do in St John’s to make an impact in our community in Dumfries. We need to walk by faith and not by sight and faithfully play our part. Our part might be small but with God’s help it will grow. As we sow seeds in the local community, we need to be patient, persevere and trust, that God is working in the background bringing forth growth. Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

Let us pray to the God of heaven and earth for the growth of the kingdom.

May the kingdom grow

in the different Christian communities

all over the world.

May the kingdom grow

as hearts are warmed

by the encounter of the living God;

nourished by word and sacrament,

private prayer and public worship.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May the kingdom grow,

in independent states, empires and monarchies,

in the crowded streets of cities

and in the scattered rural communities.

May it grow in all decision making

and in the stewarding of our resources.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May the kingdom grow

in every home and shelter,

in every place of work and education,

in every conversation

and in our mutual care of one another.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May your kingdom grow

in the hearts and minds

of those who are drifting in life,

feeling that life has no point or purpose.

May your hand guard them

and guide them into your love and truth.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May the kingdom grow

to bring peace and healing,

wherever there is pain and sorrow.

Draw near to those in need

and bring comfort, courage and hope.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May your kingdom grow

in those who have the authority to effect change.

We pray for our government ministers

and political leaders at home and abroad

that your wisdom and values will be

the benchmark of their decision making,

so that the lives of all,

especially the vulnerable will be cared for.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

May your kingdom be fully enjoyed

by those who have died in the faith.

We lift to you all who mourn today

and pray for them in their grief and loss.

Grant them your consolation and strength.

God of heaven and earth

let your kingdom grow.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

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.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.



The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ.


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


And, as always, if you need us, you can contact  

Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 1st October. As usual it will be held within the context of the 11am service. There will be a bring and share lunch and the formal meeting will follow. Forms for nominations to the elected vacancies are at the back of the church.  The AGM papers are at the back of the church.  If they run out, please ask the Church Office.    If you prefer to receive them by email, please sign the sheet at the back of the church.  You only need to give your name, assuming we have your up to date email address.  If you will NOT be able to attend the AGM, and would like your apologies noted, there is a sheet to sign for this as well.  If you wish to raise a matter under Any Other Business please let Margaret Morton have the details of that by 12 noon on Friday 29th September. memorton@mypostoffice.co.uk or 01387 262734


If there is sufficient demand, we hope to run a trip (destination not decided on, yet, but suggestions welcome) in mid-October (possibly 14th or 21st, date still to be decided);  we may also run something in mid-November, and there has been a suggestion we might go to the Christmas Market in Hawkshead (near Ambleside/Windermere) on or about 2 December.  Watch this space!

Other Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday, 06/10/2023:                                           Beetle Drive*
  • Friday, 19/01/2024:                                           Burns Supper
  • Thursday,  14/03/2024                                      Pamper Session
  • Saturday, 16/03/2024                                        Men’s Breakfast

* See notice below….


  • A gentle reminder to those who have bought tickets for Cook and Taste India – this will take place in the Hall on Saturday 30th September at 2.30 pm. Come ready to enjoy all the goodies on offer, and watch out for the raffle prizes, too.
  • Watch out for MU Prayer space which is held on the second Thursday of the month, via Zoom, at 12noon and 8pm. You’ve (probably) just missed Peace & Reconciliation this week, but forthcoming sessions include Faith in Action (12 Oct), Gender Justice (9 Nov) and God With Us (14 Dec).  Details on the poster on the lit noticeboard, and also the St J’s website.  The Church Office (pastadmin@stjohnsdumfries.,org) can provide Zoom joining details.  The invitation to join in ‘Prayer Space’ is not just for MU members…(see above)

We are hoping to have different themes in the window bays in the church at Harvest, particularly celebrating the theme of ‘Gifts’.  If you would like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers, provide some kind of gift, or would like to take on decorating a bay yourself, please speak to Carolynne or Janice.

Activities are resuming after the summer break.  Short Mat Bowling will resume, in the Hall, this Tuesday, 26/09/2023;  the Quiz Nights will resume this Friday, 29/09/2023, both at 7.30pm.

On the subject of activities, please support the Beetle Drive here at St J’s Hall on Friday, 06/10/2023.  Doors open 18.30;  eyes (however many you have) down at 19.00. There will be a refreshment break halfway through (no bush tucker involved), and a raffle.  No entry fee, but donations invited.  If you’ve never played before, don’t worry;  all will be explained, and it should be fun.

Dumfries Christian Network tells us…

African Children’s Choir on Monday 25th September at 2.00pm in St Andrew’s Church (picture of poster below…note that the time is incorrectly stated on the poster;  concert starts at 2pm, not 2.30pm)

Quartz says…

  • CLC:  This is the Quartz house group, we meet every second Monday. More info is on the website. [www.wordsmithcrafts.co.uk].  On the 05/10/2023, we are planning to meet at Tatyana’s!  Please get in touch if you need directions. 
  • Forest Church:  We will continue to meet at the Crichton on the 3rd Sunday in the Month.  
  • Magazine:  A Quartz review is being written for the Autumn/Winter St Johns Magazine. You can still read the last one in the current magazine which can be downloaded from the St John’s website or picked up in the building.
  • The Blog:  This site is maintained by Wordsmith Crafts CIC. Sometimes the content comes from people who have sent things in. There is the capacity to let other people post blogs directly too, and these will be tagged with their name. This expands the use of the site to encourage discussion, even for those who cannot physically meet in one place often. If you would like to contribute, or recommend someone, please get in touch.
  • An invitation:  Would you like to become more involved in Quartz?   We will be publishing a list of ideas for projects. If you are inspired and would like to contribute an idea have a quick search on the website for similar things to compare it with what Quartz has done in the past – then send your idea in. Once the list is published, we will be trying to find people to help make them happen! Involvement in one activity does not commit you to being involved in any others (unless you want to be). If you are willing to be more involved in the planning and selection of ideas let us know.

Dumfries Academy tell us…We would be extremely grateful if you could share details about our Fairtrade Coffee Morning with your congregation.  It is being held on Saturday, 30th of September, 10am – 12:00 pm at St George’s Church Hall.  All the money raised will help pupils to finance a life changing trip to Kenya in 2024.   Entry costs £5 for adult and children can attend for free!

There will be live musical performances by pupils throughout the morning,  a raffle and a selection of stalls selling home-baking, second-hand books and home-made jewellery.  

It promises to be a good day!

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 21st September followed by refreshments in the hall.


St John's Church

2 days 14 hours ago

Sunday 24th September is our Seventeenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is a

St John's Church

6 days 18 hours ago

You are must welcome to join us for our contemporary service this Sunday in St John’s at 6pm. Be great to see you! 👍

St John's Church

1 week 4 days ago

Choral Evensong will take place at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, on Sunday 17th September at 6pm, sung by the Choir of St John's Church, Dumfries, in memory of

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Sunday 3rd September is our Fourteenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is evensong