I’m writing this week’s Weekend Reflections sat in a Premier Inn in Aldershot, it’s evening and I left home at 4:00am this morning so my body and mind are somewhat jaded, exhausted even. But when I think back to last weekend my spirits are lifted. What a great weekend.
It was Pentecost Sunday so we were thinking about the Holy Spirit.
Ian and Andrew both did a great job:
My notes from Ian’s talk:
- Pentecost is an early morning prayer meeting and then they party.
- They met to celebrate one kind of fruit and they get another.
- Pentecost happened in a house – the Holy Spirit can meet us anywhere.
- Everyone of them were declaring the glory of God.
- They must have spilled out into the streets. This seems to happen naturally and certainly didn’t require any planning.
- If God does touch your life – don’t stay in the room – get out there onto the streets.
- The Holy Spirit wants to do through me – not just in me.
- Peter stood up to explain not to preach. He was giving witness to what he had experienced – it wasn’t a debate of logic and reason.
- It was the explanation that broke through into people’s hearts and lives.
- Being cut to the heart was a violent thing. It wasn’t a paper-cut – it was a stab.
- People were told what they needed to do and they did it.
- The message – turn from your sins, turn to God, be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit. A simple yet profoundly eternal message.
- What would you do if you weren’t afraid – what would I do if resources weren’t an issue?
- God gives good gifts.
- It’s rude to leave a box unopened.
The last two points come as an addendum to Ian’s prepared message after he was challenged by God the day before. God is challenging us to open the gifts that He has given us. What gifts have I left unopened? What gifts have you left unopened?
In many ways Andrew’s message was, again, a follow on from Ian’s message. Andrew’s encouragement was to think of the book of Acts as a series of Pentecost stories rather than Pentecost being limited to the events in Acts 2:
- Stories of Purity – Acts 8: Philip preaches the gospel in Samaria and Simon the sorcerer is
humbled. Titus 3:5 “He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit”.
- Stories of Presence – Acts 10: Peter at Cornelius’s house. Peter tells a gentile the good news. The Holy Spirit came. God looks at you and sees His Spirit.
- Stories of Power – Acts 9: Paul was a rebel. Ananias lays hands on Saul – brother Saul. It’s about His power. 1 Corinthians 2:4: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”.
- Stories of Praise – Acts 10: They were astonished at the praise of God by these gentiles: “For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” The Holy Spirit lead naturally to praise.
But that wasn’t everything. Sunday was also the Global Day of Prayer and we took our part. It was great to see people praying throughout the afternoon lifting people and issues to God. I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that people responded in the evening service afterwards. Personally I was really challenged about how much I love – how much I love my friends, how much I love Preston, how much I love England. It was a challenge that first struck me in David Smith’s sessions a few weeks ago; Sunday afternoon took that challenge deeper.
I know that I don’t have enough love for all of these things but I know that God does.
Finally, a big thank you for the kind comments about these posts and a special thank you to those of you have commented. I’d love to hear more of your own reflections.