Introducing our morning meeting Major Andrea Still set ‘a challenge to the little ones’. These were few in number because most were away but needed to be ‘entertained’ because there was no KAOS for them to go to. She asked them to go to a table at the side of the hall and draw a picture of their favourite Bible story (to be shown to the congregatioin later in the meeting).
The Songsters brought musical ministry with ‘Sing and be not silent’ and a paraphrase of Psalm 119 (Psalms Now) was introduced.
The children’s pictures (see above) were brought forward and shown to the ‘grown-ups’.There was some very interesting artwork to see!
The sermon, brought by Major Andrea was entitled ‘Being Wise’. She said:
What does Psalm 119 help us to do? Of course it contains interesting statistics amongst which are the facts that it is the longest Psalm and Chapter in the Bible and also that it is placed at the very centre of that book. It was written at the time of exile for the children of God and we, too, are worshipping in a different place. Perhaps there are some that are not comfortable with that and are already longing to be back in our own building. But this Psalm shifts the focus of worship from a building to the place where we are situated and exhorts us to continue to praise God for his goodwill to us. His wisdom provides for us today in a partnership between God and man which is manifest in our understanding of his will and the discernment that brings.
There are various key words in the passage as it guides us into God’s freedom. His word provides forgiveness and helps us to make the right decisions. We need to discover it so that it becomes ‘written on our hearts’, enabling us to deal with many issues including our ‘hurts’ from the past. We can rejoice in the assurance of God’s presence that we discover in his Word. We need to take time to study it and put other things aside so that we have that necessary time.
What, then, is your response to this generous God who gave us his word?
The evening meeting commenced with 144 from the Salvation Army Song Book and 544 from Songs of Fellowship. The Songsters continued with ‘God of all wonders’ before SoF 188, prayers and a reading from Acts 2:1-13 continued with the theme of ‘Life giving Spirit’. Three personal testimonies were received abd a song of testimony (SA 334) introduced the Band (Standing somewhere in the shadows) and the sermon, brought by Major Alec, who based it on The Life-giving Spirit. He asked:
What is your experience? We ve had testimony of how God is working in His people here. What is Christianity? Ironside says that Christianity is a supernatural state. It is a divine life manifested through the Holy Spirit. The Christian life without the Holy Spirit is like life without breath .
Many have considered Christianity to be a divine command â€“ obey the rules, read the instructions and do as it says. If this was so, there wouldn’t be many Christians as we don t read instructions. If we only obeyed the rules, of which there are many, we would be a group of academics. This is not the answer. The key must be what we achieve and what we do â€“ human performance. John 13, Jesus set the example of servant-hood. V.17 Now you will be blessed if you do these things . This is not sufficient, it just makes a group of nice people.
We want the world to see Jesus in us and come to know Jesus through us. Divine command and human performance need to be joined together by the Holy Spirit within us.
Jack Stoker, a well known evangelist, could not read. His wife used to read the Bible to him and one day when she read Acts 2 he said They weren’t real men, were they? Men like me? Then he left the house and returned some time later with a radiant face. His wife asked him what had happened and he told her that he d gone into the woods, knelt and prayed to God asking for Holy Spirit. You did it for them so do it for me! . I ve received the Holy Spirit.
We need to share the prayer of Jack Stoker if our lives are to be meaningful. William Booth says We need another Pentecost’. We need an experience of Pentecost which will change the church. When the Spirit comes, the church will be shaken up as well as the world and they will be transformed people. God energises and takes people forward to become truly the people of God. I will pour out my Spirit on all people is for us.
How will the Spirit manifest itself? By transforming and changing everything around us. God is changing things around us here. Are we the energised ones, as the eleven disciples on the day of Pentecost, or those ridiculing what is happening? Holy Spirit we welcome you. Have your way with us so that we may realise the potential that God has for us. Holy Spirit, dwell with me. Surrender control of your lives to the Holy Spirit.
As we approach that time of year where school terms come to an end it is natural that attention focuses on the youngsters. We will report on the time spent at Deal this week-end as soon as we can. We would also take this opportunity of reminding readers of the Divisional Fiesta day next Sunday (15th). There will only be one meeting, in the morning, to allow those who wish to attend the Fiesta to do so. There will be a service at Emmaus for those who will not be going to Bletchingley should they wish to attend.
It would be churlish to end without offering our congratulations to a certain Andrew Murray despite his failure to become the Wimbledon tennis champion yesterday. There are those who have said that, had he done so, he would have had a life changing experience. Readers will be relieved to know that great sporting exploits are not necessary for such an experience. We only have to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and believe in him. It doesn’t get any bigger than that!