Birthdays are special, I’m sure you will agree. At the same time, some of us don’t like to be reminded of how long we have been inhabitants of God’s good earth ! But, in the main, it’s nice when we can be made a fuss of.
Pentecost Sunday is often described as “The Birthday of the Church.” On the first Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was gifted to God’s people in special measure, with some amazing manifestations. Just read the 2nd chapter of Acts.
But it actually pays to spend time reading the whole of the Book of Acts. For throughout, we can see the impact this special Holy Spirit presence of God made on the early life of the Christian Church. And while this occurred centuries ago, I believe we can note encouragements and challenges that we can work and pray to be so in 21st century New Zealand – and in our small corner of God’s vineyard here at St Paul’s.
What areas of our life and ministry might we look for as we read through Acts ?
· Our Worship : while nothing is ever perfect, we find expressions of vibrancy and celebration that indicate a lively and living relationship with God. A variety of gifts operated, and certainly not confined to “up-front” leaders. May the Lord inspire our weekly worship !
· Our commitment to Prayer : the early believers clearly gathered to pray, not least for guidance as they responded to God’s call to spread the good news of Jesus. Let us not neglect the amazing gift of prayer,
· Preaching and Teaching were given a high priority in the life of the early church – telling the good news and explaining the faith. How we need to prayerfully support all who are called to this ministry.
· Space limits further detailed comment, but let’s also note how the Holy Spirit inspired Mission (the outreach to those yet unbelievers); Pastoral Care (note the way folk supported one another, especially the needy); and Service (practical action in the name of God).
May we be inspired by the great stories in the Book of Acts, and invite the Holy Spirit to encourage and enable our life for God to be effective for His glory. .. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH OF GOD! and “The Good Ship St Paul’s”
Rev Graham Button