FROM OUR MINISTER'S SOAPBOX
May 30th 2020
We continue to live with the uncertainty of Coronavirus and the ongoing effects of the lockdown on our daily living even as it begins to lift. We are living through extraordinary times and we need God’s help as we face an uncertain future.
The first Pentecost was also about ordinary people. The one very special person had ascended into heaven and the ordinary people were left. Yet, what happened that day was extraordinary. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, they were far from ordinary. They became very special, for they were filled with gifts from God. They were used to fulfil God’s purposes and to help people hear the Gospel message. The Church was born and we are the Church today because of them and because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives – and in the lives of ordinary people since that first day of Pentecost.
They were ordinary people made special by the Spirit of God within them. And so are we! Each one of us! Ordinary people made special by the Spirit of God. God pours out Holy Spirit into us, into open vessels. So, when did you last open yourself to God? Are you willing to give yourself to God afresh so that you might be, moulded and filled? The disciples were waiting in an upper room in Jerusalem, keeping themselves to themselves. They were in lockdown. Nearly two thousand years later, we have our own special places - and we are in lockdown too. Are we keeping ourselves to ourselves - despite the fact that the Spirit is ready to fill us, in the same way that the first disciples were filled by God? Let’s pray for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit into our lives that drives us to tell others about Jesus and to live lives that change the world. We are those who are called to remain faithful to the Gospel - even in the midst of a pandemic - and we are those who are called to be open to God because God has extraordinary things in store for us, ordinary though we are. (Slightly altered from www.theworshipcloud.com)
May 24th 2020
The challenge to change
At the moment all of us are having to face changes. We may have just got used to isolating and now
we have the challenge of learning how to isolate a little less and to do so safely. There is a
temptation for some to think now we are fine and stretch the advice or even ignore the guidance.
For others it feels too soon and we do not want to risk re-engagement, even though we have been
grateful to others who have taken the burden of risk, in health and essential services. It is a
challenge to each of us to work out how to best play our part in society.
The Bible tells us Jesus is the way the truth and the life. To really live following his way is also an
ongoing challenge we face but if we accept the challenge, we will have all the resources needed to
cope in challenging, changing times and help others to cope too. In the book of Malachi, God
speaks to His people through the voice of the prophet Malachi. The Jewish people had been
slacking in their service to the Lord, holding back on their sacrifices, offering Him sick and injured
animals instead of giving their best and trusting Him to provide. They followed in a convenient way
not a wholehearted way. God challenges them to change this practice and lays out the reward for
those who, by faith, would make the necessary changes. In Malachi 3:10 He tells the people: ... test
Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour
out for you a blessing until it overflows.
So, I ask, what change needs to take place in your life in order to make God the priority, and not just
"part" of your life? There are moments in life when a change is necessary or due. If your spirit has
been stirred by this call to live a fuller more faith-centred life please don't refuse or put off accepting
and responding to the challenge of change. It will enable you to lead your whole life to its fullest
potential without fear for the future or endangering those around you, as you learn what it means to
love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no way better than this.