Summary: An ecumenical message in 2 parts for Pentecost - my last one in my last appointment.
Pentecost 2006 Ecumenical Service : The Vision thing
CTW – Acts 2:1-13
PP 31 Come on & celebrate
PP 35 Father God
Reading - Isaiah 43:14-21
PP 69 Holy Spirit we welcome you
Testimony – Good news slot??
Jane - Father Spirit Jesus
Reading -2 Corinthians 3:12-18
HP 326 There’s a Spirit
Prayer of commitment
HP 216 And can it be
Talk # 1 – ‘Fresh Expressions’
It is of course fabulous to meet like this together – brothers & sisters from all over the town & area isn’t? Good to share fellowship & praise our God together. This is of course my last such occasion with you, my last Ecumenical service & it is a privilege that I have this chance to lead here.
Really I want to share 2 things with you, the first now – the second a little later on. Just recently I showed a DVD here in worship called ‘Fresh Expressions.’ It is really a challenge to the Church of all traditions to hear what God is saying & find new or fresh ways to be Church.
Isaiah14: 18-19 is one of my favourite passages – ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.’
Most of us know that God is never still –always seeking us, always – thank God! The truth is though that we often kind of like to keep God in a place we are comfortable with & resist the new things He seeks to do. We much prefer a God we can limit to behaving in ways that are appropriate to our conditioning, our traditions & our prejudices. But the Holy Spirit will not be contained – the Spirit wants to send ripples over the waters of our Churches & lives – he wants to disturb & initiate life.
‘Fresh Expressions’ ask us how we might do new things to reach those who don’t yet know & don’t really relate to the way we do Church now. Think about it for a moment – there are over a dozen Churches in this Churches together area. We are strong – we are growing in faith & becoming more like Jesus, yet we are only reaching a tiny percentage of the people in these communities. For the vast majority of people what we do now doesn’t reach them, & a Fresh Expression might ask us to think about how we might reach out.
I would love to hear from Sutton Coldfield that in Hinckley & Burbage & beyond the Churches were co-operating & finding new ways to reach out with Fresh Expressions of Church.
Watch this DVD – be challenged – God is crying out for us to perceive what He is asking us to do – together we can do so much if we cooperate & dream dreams together.
People its up to you – go & pester your Priest or Minister, your stewards & deacons & elders – to allow God’s Spirit to bring these fresh expressions to Hinckley & beyond so that we see, you see, the rivers of God’s love breaking through into the wasteland.
So I ask you to do together what God through Isaiah asked so long ago – ‘do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland’.
Talk # 2 – Ever changing lives
The song Jane sang – ‘Father Spirit Jesus’ by Casting Crowns reminds us that God wants us to have ever changing lives, which is of course true. He wants us not just to be at work in the Churches here but also in us. For us to be transformed day by day to be more like Jesus as Paul put it, & of course that means that He never wants us to stand still & stop being changed.
This is all ok of course until we start to protest, because . . . well because sometimes some of us quite like us as we are – right!?
We like things as they are – we kind of like the life we have & the people we are. We like the way we do things in worship & if we are being honest we don’t want things to change. But the trouble is that’s not what God wants & even if we do like the life & the habits & routines we have had for years & years – if they are at odds with our life as disciples then the HS won’t settle until they are gone.