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CHRISTMAS – A TIME OF EXPECTANCY

(December 9, 2018) Maureen McQuillan shares a Christamas reflection…

December – this mad month of packed shops – many playing unassociated loud, ear bending music (like certain churches!) – are busily selling Christmas decorations and presents. It’s great to note that some stores are season-minded and resound with timely precious carols such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Christmas – the time to be joyful, give gifts, demonstrate love, and especially for Christians to celebrate with thanks the gift of God of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Overall Christmas is a time of expectancy, even down to ‘Where to park, what gifts to get’ and later ‘What will be inside my parcel Christmas morn? What Christmas lunch?’

It’ll be fun in our home… we’ll have our precious daughter Wendy who was born on Christmas Day – I was certainly expecting that Christmas quite some time ago! – and family members for lunch, even though our rental is on the small size! (Our new home is being built so our furniture is packed away and we only have a tiny four-place table to work around).

But it’ll be fun though, a time of love shared in jovial companionship, caring for each other and good tasty food – I’ve been busy working on a well-planned spread that will ensure we all enjoy our time together! Our expectation?  A day well shared together.

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THE FEAST THAT NEVER ENDED

(June 1, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares on Pentecost …

The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks) was observed by Israel over many centuries. It was an important time each year to celebrate the beginning of the early weeks of harvest with thanksgiving to God. Also a time to celebrate God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt.

After his resurrection from the grave, Jesus had given his followers a command to not depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them: ‘John truly baptised with water; but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Luke, writing the Acts of the Apostles, begins the second chapter with the words, ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.’

Then, verse 2ff, the Holy Spirit fell!

The focus of the feast
The Day of Pentecost was a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel. Devout Jews were used to celebrating the feast of Pentecost – but on the Acts 2 Day of Pentecost, the focus of the feast was changed for the followers of Jesus Christ! (more…)

HE’S ALIVE!

(April 16, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, reminds us of the power of Resurrection Sunday …

He’s alive!  He’s alive! He’s alive!  This lay at the centre of the message of the early church. This was the passion burning in the hearts of the first Christians. When they met each other in the street, they didn’t say, ‘G’day’ or ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’ They said, ‘He is risen!’ To which was given the reply, ‘Indeed he is risen!’

Eight times in the book of Acts we read that God raised Jesus from the dead. And it was a central theme in Paul’s teaching. In fact he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’ And then in verse 20 he wrote, ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.’

I don’t think that today’s Christians have the same passion as those early Christians when we think of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has become a doctrinal statement rather than a passionate, motivating conviction. But not so in the early centuries.

Oh, we still mention it and claim how wonderful it is, but often it just seems like an echo of the past. Do you remember the last time you were in an area, perhaps surrounded by mountains, and you decided to call out to hear the echo reverberating around you? The first echo that returns is quite loud, but succeeding ones get weaker and weaker. (Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.) (more…)