The Good Gift of Power at Pentecost

You can move a car by pushing it or you can turn the ignition key and harness the power of the engine. It will travel for longer and with a great deal less personal effort from A to B if there is sufficient fuel. Using fuel and the car’s engine, is using the car as it was designed to be. It’s the same with being a Christian called to be Jesus’ witnesses. We can attempt to live out the Christian life in our own limited power (this will result in failure) or we can welcome God’s design for the Christian and the necessity of being clothed with power by the Holy Spirit.

In Luke 24:49 Jesus asks the disciples to wait in Jerusalem in order to receive what the Father has promised, clothing in power. This power is in Greek the same root word from which we get dynamite! It is the same word that describes Jesus in Luke 4 as he returns from his trials in the wilderness and begins His public ministry: Luke 4:14 ‘Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.’ Furthermore, it is something promised by the Father through the prophets as Peter later points out in his address to the cords on Pentecost in Jerusalem. Here, he begins to literally fulfil the call to witness to Jesus (Acts 2:16ff).

Not just an encounter, but on-going…

This is not just a one off. The scriptures testify that the Holy Spirit’s work and presence in us makes all the difference. As we trust in Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who helps us know and experience the love of God assuring us that we are his children (Romans 8:16). We often see this is the main thing that happens on the Holy Spirit day in our Alpha course. Likewise, it is the spirit who enables good fruit to grow in our lives reflecting the character of Jesus: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to be effective witnesses through transforming our own lives; equipping us to witness in our actions and words to Jesus- risen from the dead, saviour of the world.

We recognise this is an ongoing need. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:18 to be filled and continue to be filled with the Spirit. Consequently, in each Eucharist we pray ‘Renew us by your Holy Spirit,’ and conclude with a heartfelt prayer ‘send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.’

Clothe us in power…

On Saturday, as part of the prayer movement ‘Thy Kingdom come’ encouraged by Archbishop Justin Welby, we waited upon the Lord for 8 hours, looking to pray in His kingdom in differing areas and across a number of issues . However, we were waiting especially for the Lord to clothe us as a church with His power to be effective witnesses here to the South West of Australia.
This past week in Alpha it was a delight for us to see someone come to that place of trust in Jesus and commit themselves to follow Him. That wonderful moment happened in part through the ongoing witness of Christians in her family and the witness of this church to her. Alpha has helped her think it through further and come to a decision. How beautiful is that? It is a literal fulfilment of what Jesus asks of us and enables us to do through the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:45-49).

Lord, may your kingdom continue to come in us and through us. Holy Spirit, clothe us with power that we might be your witnesses to the ends of the earth, even the South West of Australia.


Knowing Jesus in a new way: Known by the Holy Spirit (Godly Play Version)

Our last Godly Play all age service was the story of Pentecost, we remember this as a transition between Jesus’ earthly ministry and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  After being told to go make Jesus known to everyone the disciples must have had mixed feelings.  Even today we have mixed feelings about making Jesus known to others.  The missing ingredient was yet to come, as promised the Holy  Spirit arrived at Pentecost.

“Suddenly, they heard the sound of a mighty wind.  It filled the whole house.  Bits of fire began to dance around each one.  The Holy Spirit had come.  Even their tongues felt on fire.  In their joy they rushed our into the streets to tell everyone!”

We cannot do this alone.  In knowing Jesus we must know the Holy Spirit.  How will we know the Holy Spirit?  For the disciples it was an overwhelming joy that they had to tell everyone – have you felt this? 

“Peter stepped into this chaos with a confidence and calm that the disciples had never seen before.”

Peter felt confident and calm in the wake of a storm – have you felt this?

“what has happened is what the Prophet Joel wrote about.  He said that God will pour out God’s spirit on us so that our sons and daughters will prophesy, the young will see visions, and the old will dream dreams.”

I wonder if you have experienced this?

Jesus had talked about the Holy Spirit and when he did, he called the Spirit, the Comforter.  Jesus had said that the Holy Spirit …
1. helps people see what they’ve done wrong and points
them to God
2. helps people do what is right
3. helps us understand the Bible
4. prays for us when we can’t find the words

5. helps us find out what our special gifts are so we can use
them to help others

I wonder if this is your experience of the Holy Spirit?

Lord, help us to discern your voice in the midst of so many others.  Guide our desires and aspirations for your Church.  Renewing our courage, by your Holy Spirit.


Knowing Jesus in a new way: Known in making him known

Last week in our Alpha course we were exploring the question, How do we tell others?  For us today we are bombarded with different ways to tell the Gospel.   On Google, we get 2.3 Million results with for example 14 steps to evangelise, top 3 effective outreach opportunities, Effective Evangelism: 10 tips for success.  This was not the case for our first disciples.  There was no Alpha course for them.  For the disciples and others, it was a time where they began to know Jesus in a new way.  He is neither simply human nor simply spiritual, he is completely both.  Through Godly Play we can explore this fearful wonder and astonishment of this transition time for the Disciples.  It must have been a huge adjustment to learn how to know Jesus in this new way.  Our Godly Play story describes it like this;

“We remember how all the disciples gathered in Galilee.  They gathered together and went to the mountain to meet Jesus.  He was already there.  It was good to see him, even in this new way, but what were they supposed to do now?  Listen.  He was talking again.  What was that? “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  What was he talking about?  Then he said something that they could understand, but did not want to hear.  “Go everywhere.  Tell my story, even this part, to everyone.  Show them how to be good disciples.  Tell them the story so they can become part of it.  Baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

This was too far to travel, too much to do.  Then in their dismay they heard him say, “I am with you always to the end of the age.”  Then he was gone.  What did he mean?  As they walked back south to Jerusalem, they knew they had been followers, now they were to be leaders. They had been sheep, now they were to be shepherds.  They had come home for the last time, now they were to make a home for others.”

The disciples were commissioned to spread the good news of the reality they experienced during the transition and in Pentecost.  There was no precedent for this.  They were called to help God create a new and unknown world!  This must have been overwhelming for them, as it is for us today, but we at least, have this story to guide us.

I wonder what part of the story is about you or what part you are in?

I wonder what part is most important?

I wonder if you know Jesus?

I wonder how you would make Jesus known?


The Mystery of Pentecost

“Do bad people have the Holy Spirit in them?”

 “I wonder!…what do you think?”

“No but they did when they were babies.  Mary definitely has the Holy Spirit inside her.”

“What, your Grandmother?” I replied.

“No, Jesus’ Mummy.  God’s Mummy must have the Holy Spirit in her.”

The deep thinking the children do always inspires me.  I’m truly blessed to be involved in this Godly Play ministry.  Many of you know that I once was an atheist and then became a Christian – there are many stories of ‘Great’ transformation and they are often the ones we tell.  What I personally find the most remarkable are those who have remained faithful to God ever since they can remember or those who became Christian as children or young adults and even after the turmoils of life are still trusting in our God.  I pray for this remarkable journey for our children.  I pray for this continued deep thinking and wondering and pray that they know the remarkable never ending love of God.



Being Creative – Using Prayer Stations in our Church

Come Holy Spirit

Over the last few months we have been praying the Lords Prayer through prayer stations. During Pentecost the children created one of their own which seemed to glow with the light of the Holy Spirit.

This has been a valuable tool in visualising the words that Jesus gave us. As we quieten ourselves before the stations we make it easier to become aware of the inner presence of God’s Spirit. Like all learning listening to the voice of Jesus takes practice, and visualising the words we want to pray is just one way we can use prayer in our daily lives. Have you tried prayer stations before? Perhaps you could try making one at home.

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