Archive for September, 2010

No New Messages for the Day Until Oct 1st

September 23rd, 2010
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Because of the 8 day Ulladulla Festival which runs from September 22 through to September 30 Messages for the Day will recommence on Oct 2nd

Message for the Day

The Holy Spirit in God’ Plan (20)

September 22nd, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Acts 2:38-47

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.(NIV)

It is no coincidence that immediately following the outpouring of the Spirit, Luke describes the profound community life shared among the early believers, meeting together day by day, having all things in common, providing for all in need, devoting themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42ff.).

The “they” in Acts 2:42 undoubtedly included many of the 3000 converts mentioned in verse 41. This means that this early apostolic community likely had “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene…Cretans and Arabs” (v.9).

This theme of ethnic diversity and unity continues to be a major theme throughout the book of Acts (esp. once Gentiles get in the picture) and through much of the Pauline epistles. )

In the old creation, language and culture divided and scattered mankind. In the new creation there is a unity that is from God himself –the unity of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspiring the apostles to speak the gospel where people were in their language and culture showed that there can be a unity in diversity within the family of God through belief in the same gospel.

Message for the Day

The Holy Spirit in God’s Plan (19)

September 21st, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 1:28-32

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (NIV)

Around this world the image of God that humans are meant to be the carriers of has been distorted one way or another.

These scriptures give a pretty dark description of a lot of the Roman world back then. However it has been reflected to one degree or another in all cultures throughout  history.

At Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak in other languages and people from many nations, gathered in Jerusalem, each heard them speaking in their own native language. What is going on? The advent of the Spirit is actually reversing the curse of Babel. Babel divided the nations and scattered the family of humanity.

The church brings a message of restoration: one has come who is the true image of God. This Jesus is the Adam of the new creation – in which all can now bare the image of God he always intended.

The Spirit is given to make God’s future real in the present.

Just as the resurrection of Jesus opened up the unexpected world of God’s new creation, so the Spirit comes to us from that new world, the world waiting to be born, the world in which, according to the old prophets, peace and justice will flourish, and the wolf and the lamb will lie down side by side.

Thus at Pentecost we are seeing the Spirit of God using the gospel to bring diverse peoples together as one family and one “kin-group.” A kinship based on a belief in Jesus Christ, not on a physical genealogy or similar culture or language. Diversity no longer divides. God speaks to each in his own language and culture.

The Spirit forges the Church as a new humanity which is reunited as a down payment and sign of God’s  purpose to bring all peoples into the unity and peace of God.

That which was alienated is now reconciled. That which was contentious is now at peace. Those who were enemies are now family.

Message for the Day