come and see

John 1:46 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” answered Philip.


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The Challenge of Pentecost

Vanessa’s gave a powerful message at yesterday’s Pentecost service; she commented “All I can say is God was doing the typing and I am so blessed to have been chosen to say these words”.

The Challenge of Pentecost

Pentecost – let me set the scene with the back story – a bit of history. There were a group of guys who followed Jesus – the disciples. During his ministry the people loved Jesus and many flocked to see him, hear him and be healed by him. The Bible talks about throngs of people, crowds, multitudes and masses. You know like a good crowd we get for a Crusaders game – Jesus let’s say he’s Ritchie McCaw and those disciples the team.  Everyone cheering. It would have been so exciting to be part of that. Imagine being one of them, part of that famous group, one of the IN crowd …. and then Jesus was arrested.

In the Gospel of Luke,  it says “They arrested Jesus and took him away into the house of the High Priest and Peter followed at a distance.” Then Peter denies knowing Jesus three  times before morning – he didn’t want to be known as one of the followers of Jesus.  I think about the challenge we sometimes face in saying “yes, I am a Christian” to others and maybe even to ourselves “Yes I am a Christian”.

So Jesus is then tried, the people, the crowd who once shouted hosanna for Jesus, now call for his blood, his crucifixion. Jesus dies and it’s not so great anymore to be part of THAT group, one of those followers of Jesus. What happens next? – Jesus rises from the dead.  In his appearances to those who knew him they do not recognise him; then it’s a look, a word, a miracle and they realise it is Him.

Peter and some others were out fishing and they hadn’t caught a thing until a man on the shore tells them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. They do so, obey the command and their net overflows with fish ……. and they realise it’s Jesus. After sharing a meal together, Jesus calls Peter to the side. And asks Peter three times if he loves him, and three times Peter says “You know that I love you, You know that I love you, You know that I love you.” Three times he denied and three times he accepts. Whose sake was that for – Jesus or Peter?

As Jesus is about to ascend to heaven  these are his last words on earth, as told in Acts 1: “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, ability, efficiency and might and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”

Wahoo – They begin to look forward to the arrival of the Holy Spirit. They anticipate….it’s coming. Hang around… for it’s coming. Kill some time ……….…. it’s coming. And then wait  some more. Wait for 50 days. Did some of the followers not last the whole 50 days, couldn’t face the challenge of waiting – just like in the play*. Are you waiting for something to happen and it’s a challenge. Are you finding your patience tested and it’s a challenge?  Are you struggling with God’s timing – I know it’s a challenge.

And for those who saw it through, who passed the test. were anointed in a powerful way, a life-changing way “ when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, ability, efficiency and might and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” Peter, now anointed with the Holy Spirit, went out and spoke to the crowd and brought 3000 people to Christ. Peter became the leader, the father of the new church and it’s mission to bring Christ to the ends of the earth.  Peter, who we see had  his challenges to face and who failed some – passed some. Just like us – fail some, pass some, became what God had planned him to be.

The Holy Spirit is not to make us all Peters or Joyce Meyers  but to help make us exactly who God planned us to be. Not anyone else , not doing what they do, not  being what someone else expects us to be, not what we expect ourselves to be . The Holy Spirit is to help make you, make me,  exactly who God planned us to be.  God can turn caterpillars into butterflies, coal into diamonds, sand into pearls all with right amount of time and right amount of pressure. In the process of becoming who God planned us to be,  we face life and its daily challenges. Sometimes big challenges, sometimes small ones. But make no mistake everybody in this room is facing challenge.  It’s part of the process – and my advice is the quicker we hand the challenge back to God – I truly forgive them; Lord I give you my fear; Take my burden and I will not come back for it – it allows the Spirit to move in us.

Vanessa

(*Earlier in the service we had a visiting Youth Group perform a skit from Ready, Steady, Act now, called “120 Waiting Christians”)

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The Lord’s Prayer (part 4) – review and recall

(see also our other Lord’s Prayer posts: part 1 – I cannot say; part 2 – a fridge magnet memory verse; part 3 – The Lord’s Prayer with props)

At the end of our service on the Lord’s Prayer we brought out this board with only parts of the prayer written on it. The missing words were printed on slips of paper and distributed around the group. We then worked our way through the prayer and the person holding the missing words came up and stuck them on. This was a quick, simple, and fun way to review the Lord’s Prayer and check how well the children could recall it.

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The Lord’s Prayer (part 3) – this time with props

(see also our other posts on The Lord’s Prayer: part 1 – I cannot say; part 2 – a fridge magnet memory verse; part 3 – review and recall)

I can’t remember where we found this idea from – it was from one of the many books we have looked at over the years. We made a note of the ideas and put it aside for the right time to use it.

The idea is to have objects to focus the group’s minds on each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. These are the objects we used, but you may wish to make some substitutions to make it more relevant to the version of the prayer that your group is familiar with.

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Our Father – a picture of a father and child

in heaven – a model of the solar system

hallowed be your name – a printed picture of hands raised in worship

your kingdom come – a national flag (we had a French one)

your will be done – a recent newspaper

on earth as in heaven – a globe of the earth

give us today our daily bread – a loaf of bread

forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us – a cross

Save us from the time of trial – a toy judge’s gavel

and deliver us from evil – a book entitled “The Two World Wars”

For the kingdom – a paper crown

the power – a picture of parliament

and the glory are yours –  an “Oscar” statuette

Now and forever. Amen – a stopped clock.


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The Lord’s Prayer (part 2) – a fridge magnet memory verse

(see also our other Lord’s Prayer posts: part 1 – I cannot say; part 3 – The Lord’s Prayer with props; part 4 – reveiw and recall)

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As part of our service on The Lord’s Prayer the children made small fridge magnets with a printed copy of the prayer.  The idea for this one came from The Catholic Toolbox blog, for which many thanks. This craft uses popsicle sticks, a printed Lord’s Prayer, and sticky magnetic tape (if you cannot get hold of stick magnetic tape – which comes on a roll like sellotape – use up some of those free advertising magnets that always seem to appear)

IMG_0269The Lord’s Prayer needs to be printed in quite a small font – around 9 point- to make sure it will fit within the square you make with the popsicle sticks. Take 4 of the sticks and glue two on each side edge of the printed prayer; then glue two more across the top, and two across the bottom, making a square. It is up to you (or rather, the children) how much overlap there is on the corners. Stick magnetic tape/recycled advertising magnets to the back (best to do it on the four corners), and there you have it – put it up on the fridge and it can be read every time they head there for refreshments!


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The Lord’s Prayer (part 1) – I cannot say

This week we focused on the Lord’s Prayer at our Come & See service. We have been encouraging the younger ones to try to learn this by heart and wanted some ways to help them fix the words in their minds, but as our services are made up of adults as well as children, we needed to give them some things to ponder. As a result this service had several elements which we would like to share with you. To make it easier to navigate we will use four separate posts for this, and we hope that some or all of them can be helpful to you all.

Below is the text of Vanessa message this week. You can also look at:- part 2 – a fridge magnet memory verse; part 3 – the Lord’s Prayer with props; and part 4 – review and recall.

The Lord’s Prayer – I cannot say….

Prayer is unnatural as we are inherently independent, trying do it in our own strength and that is one thing I think I have heaps of, strength, and it’s something I am constantly reminded of how little I really have. Luke had a favourite saying when he was two “Lukey do it” and has spent, and will spend many years developing and gaining independence from us, his parents.

So of course prayer can be unnatural as we need to become childlike again and hand back to God the independence we have worked so hard to obtain.

Be truthful when you pray.  Be honest about  how you are feeling. We all have things we keep locked up, hidden away, never talked about and shared. God knows what you are been through, what you are thinking and what you are feeling and if you aren’t being honest with Him, the only thing you must be is lying.

Prayer pursues a personal relationship with God and as with any relationship it needs time together to grow and develop. Just as the more time we spend with someone we find out more about them, it is the same with God.

In the reading today (Matthew 6v 9-13) Jesus talks about how to pray and gives us the Lord’s Prayer.

Here is something I have had for a long time and love the way it looks at it…

I cannot say OUR if I live in a watertight spiritual compartment , if I think a special place in heaven is reserved for my denomination, just my church alone.

I cannot say FATHER if I do not demonstrate that relationship in my daily life.

I cannot say IN HEAVEN if I am so occupied with the earth that I am laying up no treasure up there.

I cannot say HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME if I, who am called by His name, am not holy, or if I do not give His name the honour and respect it deserves.

I cannot say YOUR KINGDOM COME if I am not doing all in my power to bring about its coming.

I cannot say YOUR WILL BE DONE if I am questioning, resentful or disobedient to God’s will for me.

I cannot say ON EARTH AS IN HEAVEN if I am not prepared to devote my life here to His service.

I cannot say GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD if I am feeding on past experience.

I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THISE WHO SIN AGAINST US if I harbour a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say SAVE US FROM THE TIME OF TRIAL if I deliberately place myself or remain in a position where I am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL if I am not prepared to fight it in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.

I cannot say FOR THE KINGDOM if I do not give God the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say THE POWER if I fear what people may say or do or think.

I cannot say AND THE GLORY ARE YOURS I am seeking glory for myself.

I cannot say NOW AND FOR EVER if my horizon is bounded by the things of time.

I cannot say AMEN if I do not also add “cost what it may” for to say this prayer honestly will cost everything.

(Message by Vanessa)