31 May 2020
Hi everybody! Welcome! You'll never believe it, but we have a famous scientist who's eager to speak to our younger visitors about the powerful effect of something called "The Holy Spirit":
Wow, having the Holy Spirit come to live inside of you certainly looks like it has a powerful effect! If you want to find out more, why not visit https://hillsong.com/uk/hskonline/ and check out "week 11"?
One of the most amazing effects of having the Holy Spirit inside of us is that He helps us to recognise, and hear from, God. Before we go any further, let's each close our eyes for a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us right now so that we can hear what God wants to say through today's service.
Lord, You love us, and we love you! And so we come to you today with a longing to be filled with the knowledge of Your will, to grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we may lead lives worthy of You, but that also bring you so much joy. (Col. 1:9-10). To do that, we want to begin by fixing our minds on who you are, and why we have such cause to delight in you:
Lord, our frustration is that we have this longing in our hearts to live with You at the centre of our being, but too often we respond to life out of our own apparent wisdom before consulting You. We cause hurt, and make bad choices. As we sit here quietly, would You bring to mind those things that You want us to repent of so that we can acknowledge them and receive your forgiveness?
Where we need to forgive others for making the same mistakes we have, please bring them to mind too so that we can extend to them the same grace that we have received from you.
Robert A. Jonas wrote of his friend: “For Henri, Jesus was the archetype of a fully discerning person, sensitive and responsive to God’s presence in everything He did.” It made sense for Henri, as it does for us, to look to Jesus to teach him how to draw close to God and to hear from Him.
Today's message on Acts 4:1-22 is brought to us by Keith:
Father, we know that each of us faces challenges when it comes to living out our faith. Sometimes they come in very physical forms, perhaps through other people; other times they come through difficulties that cause us to question your goodness; and sometimes they can be spiritual attacks that seem to come at us from both outside and within.
We lift up to you our brothers and sisters living in nations that are hostile to the gospel, where people that do not adhere to the state beliefs are imprisoned, tortured and sometimes even killed. As you bring to mind nations, and possibly even individuals we know of in these circumstances, we would ask you to send your Holy Spirit to both minister to, and empower these Christians to share the gospel fearlessly, knowing that they have a far greater reward to look forward to in You than anything this world has to offer.
If we're honest, Lord, we all need to be reminded of that as we cling to and chase after all the wonderful things this world has to offer us. Holy Spirit, would you so excite me for the things of God that all else pales into insignificance as I'm caught up in the wonder of encountering Him and getting to know Him more day by day. Please fill me with an insatiable hunger to learn about Jesus, to worship Him, and to share Him. Would you open up opportunities to do that throughout my life. Please do this for all who are a part of my church family too, so that together we can live out the purpose for which you created us.
As we consider all that we've seen in the news this week, and possibly what we've witnessed in our own communities and families, we're reminded that persecution takes many forms - political, racial, gender, class, national... Let's be silent for a few minutes and ask God to direct our thoughts to whatever He would have us each pray for now.
In Jesus' all-powerful name, Amen!
(The interview with Ravi Zacharias is in the notices below.)
We're going to close with one of Keith's all-time favourites - "Worthy is the Lamb" sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir. "The treasure of heaven crucified" - our God knows persecution personally but in His hands, it is never wasted. Rather, He is able to transform it into powerful acts of redemption - He's done it before, and He can do it again, and again, and again...
I'm sure you've had enough of hearing from me for one day! But since I posted the story of how we landed up in Cape Town before, it seemed only right to share the story of how we came to England this time. It's a testimony of how God can use challenging circumstances to redirect life, just as he might be doing for many of us in the circumstances we're facing through the pandemic today.
We continue to encourage you to send in stories of how God has worked in, and through your, life as you've journeyed with him.
Interview with Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias passed away on 19 May 2020. Many of his talks are freely available online and provide helpful insight into the world Christians find themselves having to negotiate today, and also into some of the other major faiths.
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Hayling Island Baptist Church
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