come and see

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


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Guidance from the Holy Spirit – a service for Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2: 1-4)

The Message for our Pentecost service this year was a very personal one. Vanessa has had some health issues recently and has at times struggled with accepting these challenges from a faith perspective. Whilst preparing for the service we looked at aspects of the Holy Spirit, and Vanessa brought us this powerful message of faith and trust. Members of the congregation took the various “parts” of the Holy Spirit and read the Bible verses.

Pentecost
Recently I have had to face I am not physically perfect and I can’t do anything about it. The term birth defect was used and it shocked me. I have an extra part in my heart which ends up short circuiting and makes my heart beat a bit quick, sometimes way too fast. A month ago I went to hospital again to get it slowed down, but what had worked in the past didn’t work this time. They finally got it sorted, but it wasn’t nice and it changed how I felt about things.

COUNSELOR:
Please help me I need a counselor to guide and help me. I don’t know what is happening to me. I am not afraid of dying because I know I will go to heaven and be with God – that’s something to look forward to really. But I don’t want to go now, not just yet. Will it be OK?
Don’t be afraid, for the Lord will go before you and will be with you. He will never leave you.(Deuteronomy 31:8)
Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

PRAYER PARTNER/INTERCESSOR:
Please help me I don’t know how to put this into words. I have questions I don’t know how to ask. I have feelings I don’t know how to express. How can I pray to God when I don’t know what to say?
God’s Spirit is right alongside you helping. If you don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does your praying for you, making prayers out of your wordless sighs and your aching groans. He knows you far better than you know yourself, and keeps you present before God. (Romans 8:26-27)

STRENGTH:
But life is always more just one thing. There are other things going on in life besides my heart. Sometimes I want to go to bed, pull the covers over my head and pretend this isn’t happening or get in the car and drive until it all goes away.
You have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives you. (Philippians 4:13)
God is faithful to His Word and to His compassionate nature, and He can be trusted not to test you beyond your ability and strength, not to give you more than you can handle. He will provide you the way to handle this, to endure this patiently. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

PEACE:
OK I’ll be honest – Sometimes I get angry and frustrated. I want to be well; I am tired of being tired. Why did I have to have this and why now? And sometimes I start to worry about what might happen. It just goes round and round getting worse and worse especially when I wake in the middle of the night.
Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Talk to him, and give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your heart and your mind. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood. (Philipians 4:7)

COMFORTER:
I forgot to mention I get scared. There are days when I have tears ready to fall, days when I cry. Sometimes I know why I cry, others I don’t. I get afraid.
God did not give you a spirit of fear, but one of power and of love and of calm. (2 Timothy 1:7)

GOD WITH ME:
And then I go quiet inside and feel God’s presence. Whatever this is about, or how it will turn out, it is in God’s hands, I am in God’s hands. He is a God of love
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

At Easter Jesus died on the cross, and they thought he had gone. But he rose from the dead, the greatest sacrifice on our behalf, so that we could all have a personal relationship with God. Jesus was not gone.
Jesus stayed for another 40 days. And then the last thing he said, as told in Acts 1, was to wait for the promised gift of God. He then rose in the sky to be with God in heaven. This time he was gone.

The promised gift was the Holy Spirit. We heard in the reading about its arrival: all wind and fire. I have been a Christian for many years, and had a relationship with Jesus but I didn’t know the Holy Spirit – to be honest I wasn’t sure about the wind and fire. However, over the last year I have intentionally and purposefully been asking the Spirit of God into my daily life.

The main thing it has done has changed the things I knew in my head into things I have experienced in my heart. The Holy Spirit is a counselor to help and guide you; helps you pray when you can’t; gives you strength and power; gives you a peace beyond all understanding; comforts you. And the Holy Spirit brings the gift of God’s presence into every situation you face right here, right now every day – if you ask.
(Vanessa)

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A game for Pentecost

 
Bearing in mind that one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit is wind, we decided to get the kids blowing these lovely red plastic cups around. The twist was that each cup had a part of the verse for today on it, and they then had to put it all together on a board so that it could be read out.
 
 
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Pentecost Streamers
These streamers were really quick and easy to make. I found a pack of cheap girls bangles – 16 for $3! – to use as the base, then bought flame coloured parka nylon fabric (because it wouldn’t fray) and cut it into 1cm wide strips. Fold the strips in half, thread them through the bangles and tie them off. Everyone had fun making them, and even more fun waving them around in our last song!

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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”)