As a fellow Minister, I want to start by commending our Minister Lucy for her inspirational leadership of our church during these difficult times. She and Justin have opened up their home, their hearts and their family to lead us in regular worship, prayer and fellowship, faithfully week by week. It’s not just been a ministry to us at Woking, but a so much wider one too. THANK YOU !
It’s most appropriate, particularly under present circumstances, therefore that Sunday by Sunday, in the Acts of the Apostles, we’re seeing the development and spread of the Christian Church, right from the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – which we celebrated in colour – a few weeks ago, to Paul’s preaching in Rome. Actually, the title ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is in some ways inadequate, many would call the book the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’ since it’s the Spirit who empowers, directs and confirms the work of the Apostles and missionaries.
Acts presents the thrilling account of the life of the early church, the opposition faced and overcome, the problems met and solved. It’s the story of God’s Grace in its redemptive power in the lives of those early believers – just ordinary people like you and me – amazing!
Yes, there were problems and yes, there was opposition, but it was by the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those ordinary folk, like us, that the church both grew and prospered – what a challenge! They weren’t super-humans by any means, they didn’t have halos round their heads: they just responded to and were guided by the Spirit, simple as that.
As I think about all this, I’m reminded of the Valedictory hymn of the old, and I mean really old Northern College in Manchester where I trained for the Ministry – always sung to the ‘Lancashire’ tune of course.
Reflect on the words, use them as a prayer:
How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable friend;
Whose love is as great as His power,
And neither knows measure nor end.
‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that’s to come.