Today is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is the Greek word for “fiftieth day”. It’s the fiftieth day after Easter when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.
Six hundred years ago, in The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis said - “Be not surprised that you cannot make others act as you wish them to act because you can’t make yourself act as you wish yourself to act.”
We’ve all, at some point, struggled to make changes in our lives. One of the most powerful choices we can make is to show gratitude and to be thankful. Giving thanks has the power to help us see things from God’s perspective. And that can change everything.
The Bible reminds us that we can give thanks in the words we say, the songs that we sing, the gifts that we give and the prayers that we pray. Philippians 4:6 reminds us - “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”
The Roman Empire was the all conquering force in the 1st Century AD with territories throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Roman infrastructure - roads, water supplies, legal system - spread throughout the Empire.
Paul says that Jesus followers are "more than conquerors" - that they were more than the might of Rome. He reassured the Christians in Rome that despite the problems they were experiencing, nothing earthly or spiritual could separate them from the love that God has for them in Jesus. We are more than conquerors. We are not victims. Our place in the kingdom of God is not measured by our power or wealth but how we respond to whatever life throws at us.
Romans 8:26 – 31
We are called and chosen by God and made right with Him through Jesus. We not only are made righteous, but we now have His glory.
We have nothing to fear because God is with us and even though we may go through some bumpy times in life we have the promises of God to hold onto. He is for us, and always brings us through the toughest seasons in life, so that we can shine brighter with His glory.
The letter to the Romans is sometimes difficult to understand & appears to be more of a lecture rather than a letter.
This is reflected in this week’s message from Chapter 8 v5-17 as we continue our series in Romans.
We will look at how we should use our words, how we should think & how we should live by the Spirit to become & continue on as God’s children.
Word, thought & deed (Spirit)
On Anzac Day 1919, the Vickery family of Waverley offered their home to the Methodist Church to establish the War Memorial Hospital. Over the past 100 years, the hospital’s purpose has remained the same – to serve the community.
Hospital care, and the care provided by War Memorial Hospital, is deeply embedded in Christian faith. The work of the staff is a gift of ministry, recognised in the motto on the nurse’s graduation badges – “Not to be ministered to, but to minister."
Today we thank God for the hospital and the ministry of care provided by the staff. We pray for them as they accept people unconditionally, affirm people continually and assist people eagerly.
Writing to the church in Rome, Paul says we “… are not under the Law but under grace.”
Grace, God’s grace, is one of the key themes of Scripture and one of the most important for living as Christians every day of our lives. Grace is both an attribute of God’s character and a gift from God that gives us the desire and ability to live out God’s purposes for us. We discover in Romans that the gift of God’s grace comes to us through Jesus and so it’s forever; it’s limitless and it’s free.
What a great way to follow up Easter Sunday!
To live the “grace full” lives given us by the resurrected Jesus.
Passover and Good Friday are memorials of two very different and yet very similar moments in history. Passover is the story of God redeeming His chosen people from Egyptian slavery. Good Friday is 'good' because God sent His only Son to the world, and so that He would die for our sins on that special day. Redemption is ours in Jesus, with deep harmonies with Passover.
Bob Mendelsohn, Jews for Jesus national director, will explain many of the symbols of the Jewish Passover as he presides at a banquet at a Church in the Marketplace this Sunday.