Pentecost

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH!

(June 6, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares about ‘the dynamite’ of Pentecost

The Christian Pentecost is sometimes called the ‘Birthday of the Church.’  While some question the accuracy of that description, it nevertheless is a helpful reminder of a unique day in the life of the church.

Almost 2000 years ago a group of about 120 people (Acts 1:15) began a journey that was to impact the whole world. As that group of Jews who were followers of Jesus met to worship and celebrate the Jewish festival of Feast of Harvest (aka the Feast of Weeks), they were not expecting that what they were about to experience would change them, the church and ultimately the world!

The first Christian Pentecost was a hugely significant event. Luke recorded the event in this way: ‘Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’ (Acts 2:2-4).

That is what happened, but why did it happen?

Peter explained it this way, ‘Exalted to the right hand of God, he (Jesus) has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:33).

Pentecost was not just a random spiritual revival-type experience for those first Christians – it was a fulfilling of Christ’s promise in John 14:16-17. And it bonded those Christians together as a new community of faith.

The day of Pentecost is significant for many reason, such as:

1. Presence
In the midst of that group a mighty wind began to blow and flames of fire appeared.  In this startling and memorable way God demonstrated his presence with his people. They certainly would never forget those symbols of his powerful presence. (more…)

SUDDENLY – POWER FROM ON HIGH!

(June 3, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects on a very special day in church history, one being celebrated by many churches this Sunday…

Suddenly… that word which indicates something out-of-the-blue! Such as what happened to those first followers of Jesus Christ on that special Day of Pentecost over 2000 years ago!

Before the Day of Pentecost came round in the year that Jesus died at Calvary and rose from the dead three days later, and before he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9), he ordered his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem – but to wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about’ (Acts 1:4).

The incredible gift Jesus promised

  • That they would receive power when God’s Holy Spirit fell on them.
  • That they would be his witnesses not only locally but across the world!

What a bold promise the Lord Jesus made in Acts 1:8: ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’

And so they waited! Then, we read in Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost arrived… that annual Feast of the Harvest, one of Israel’s three major yearly celebrations, lasting only one day. It was on this particular feast day something powerful was going to happen in the plan and purpose of God!

Note the wording that opens chapter two… that ‘they were all together in one place.’  The ‘all’ this time was different from the group in the first chapter; it was the apostles and other disciples who had joined them to celebrate the Day of Pentecost.

This gathering would be unique in both Israel and the early church’s history because it was believers in Jesus who gathered in the upper room of a particular house on this particular day of celebration. It appears likely that the number was about 120 believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 1:15). And they obviously did not even dream what lay ahead! (more…)

SHAPED BY UNITY IN 2018

(January 25, 2018) Tim Edwards shares some challenging post Christmas/pre-Easter/pre-Pentecost reflections…

To many Christmas 2017 is long gone! It’s almost the 30th of January 2018 already! We’re rushing towards another 30thEaster’s Good Friday… the 30th of March! In fact I’ve seen some Easter eggs and hot-cross buns in supermarkets already!

As we move ahead in 2018 our church is continuing to work our way through the Cover to Cover Bible with daily scripture readings. But – although we’re definitely moving forward – I feel led of God to share some thoughts that came to me last December that are so relevant for moving forward in 2018.

For example, I recall we found ourselves in what appeared to be the somewhat strange predicament of pre-Christmas preparations while studying scriptures traditionally associated with Easter!

Strong link between Easter and Christmas
The more I read, thought and prayed, the more I realised that the link between Christmas and Easter is so strong, so real, tangible and necessary.

Easter, the suffering and death and resurrection of Christ, couldn’t have happened without Christmas (the birth of Christ) and by the same token Christmas is simply not complete without Easter – they are two components of the same story; both vitally important and eternally joined.

Jesus himself drew the link between the two events in the middle of his trial at the hands of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate: he referred back to the first Christmas and said, ‘The reason I was born and came into this world is to testify to the truth’ (John 18:37).

As he stood there approaching the designated time of his death, Jesus reminded the listening crowd of his birth, thereby joining the dots and bridging the gap for them by explaining what it was all about – that he came to testify to the truth, truth that would bring humanity into relationship with a loving God. (more…)

PRIZED PENTECOST PROTECTION (May 14, 2016)

Dr Robert & Maureen (2)
Robert and Maureen McQuillan share some important reminders…

Pentecost Sunday tomorrow!

Many churches, both Pentecostal and mainstream, will be remembering, even celebrating that Acts 2 Pentecost when Jesus’ promise of being ‘equipped with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49 Mge) by the Holy Spirit was fulfilled.

The all-powerful third person in the Trinity fell in an incredible way at Pentecost, releasing the original church in spontaneous praise and worship glossolalia (tongues speaking) and immediate evangelism.

Sadly, some people still foolishly believe this free gift and the 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 nine supernatural gifts of the Spirit ceased (Theology calls this ‘cessationism’). (more…)

IS YOUR CHURCH ‘BODY MINISTRY’ EQUIPPED? (Apr 17, 2016)

Dr Robert & Maureen (2)Robert and Maureen McQuillan raise an issue…

Ministry…some Christians foolishly think ‘That’s only the minister’ but 2 Corinthians 3:6 states we’re all ministers – competent servants!

It was great to catch up recently with dearest ‘old friends’ Hans and Ellie Rutgrink,  who almost 40 years ago faithfully assisted us in planting/establishing a new church.

This was immediately after our Bible college days and we will never forget Hans’ joyous melodic phone call: ‘Hallooo, friends. We’re coming to join you…’

Connect!
With their commitment, our church grew as we concentrated on teaching Bible truths, avoided time-demanding programs, and relied on the Spirit’s anointing to build the church by building people, Ephesians 4:11ff style. (more…)

THEBUZZ (Apr 9, 2016)

  • MELBOURNE – Proliferation of sexualised and objectifying images
  • MACCLESFIELD – Boots and All
  • USA – Brains recognise the reality of God
  • LA – Celebrating the Arrival of Modern Pentecost (April 9, 1906)

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MELBOURNE, VIC, AUSTRALIA
All this and more in 30 minutes

 Coralie AlisonCoralie Alison throws a curveball question: ‘What will 30 minutes at a major shopping centre tell us about our pornified culture?’

Recently I headed to Chadstone Shopping Centre to catch up with some colleagues. It’s a typical large suburban store and, as I was a little early, I decided to browse while waiting for my friends.

Overwhelming sexualised proliferation!
I had expected to see the odd front window or billboard using the same old tired exploitation of women, but the proliferation of sexualised and objectifying images right throughout the centre was quite overwhelming. (more…)

THE SPIRIT AND MISSION: TWO RIPPLES OF PENTECOST

Dr Wonsuk Ma 3

Dr Wonsuk Ma shares…

In its short history (slightly more than one hundred years) Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity has not only grown, but has made a significant contribution to Christian mission.

At the time of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference, which presented a master road-map to world evangelisation ‘in our [their] generation,’ the movement was only four years old (if we count from the 1906 Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, California). (more…)

PENTECOST – ‘TONGUES’ AND MORE!

Dr-Robert-&-Maureen-McQuillan_PhotoRobert and Maureen McQuillan share:

It’s Pentecost Sunday this weekend!

This used to be a yearly highlight in most denominations, let alone Pentecostal ones – a celebration of when the Holy Spirit fell on the first Christians as described in Acts 2. That was when Christians were filled with the Spirit and joyfully worshipped God in ‘new tongues’ – untaught languages or glossolalia (V8-11). (more…)

RESPONDING TO PENTECOST

Murray Capill

Murray Capill, author and Reformed Theology College’s principal, challenges…

There are three ways we can respond to the central themes of the narrative in Acts and especially its focus on the Holy Spirit.

1. Seeking repetitions

One way is to continually seek repetitions of the day of Pentecost. Charismatics and Pentecostals treat the events of that day as normative and so they look for spectacular signs as manifestations of the Spirit today and for the baptism of the Spirit as an experience subsequent to conversion. (more…)

THE BUZZ

TEXAS
Ebola update

Aimee HerdBreaking Christian News’ Aimee Herd emails:
Three times now, Ebola survivor Dr Kent Brantly has donated his blood to a patient suffering with the deadly disease—the latest recipient being Texas nurse, Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola from caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died last week.

The first person who received a blood transfusion using Dr Brantly’s blood was fellow humanitarian aid doctor Nick Sacra, who has recovered from Ebola and been released from the hospital. (more…)