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Third Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 12:1-9; Psalm 33:1-12 or Hosea 5:15-6:6; Psalm 50:7-15; Romans 4:13-25; Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

God comes to us with grace and power. Let us rejoice in His faithfulness.
This is a divine Story, carried forward by God’s grace and power. God’s very great promises (Genesis 12:1-3) find their ultimate fulfilment in the coming of God’s eternal Kingdom (Revelation 21:10). We have not reached our heavenly destination. We are still caught in the tension between obedience (Genesis 12:4) and disobedience (Genesis 12:11-13). We are conscious of our human failure, yet we rejoice in the divine faithfulness. We read of Abraham’s sin (Genesis 12:10-20), yet we look beyond this to God's salvation. This is not simply the story of Abraham. It is the Story of Abraham's God. This becomes clear in the change of name. Abram (‘exalted father’) draws attention to the man. Abraham (‘Father of Many’) points to God’s purpose (Genesis 17:5). Like Abraham, we are to worship God (Genesis 12:7-8). We are to say, ‘He is exalted.’ We are to say, ‘Christ must increase, and I must decrease’ (John 3:3…
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Second Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 6:9-22, 7:24, 8:14-19; Psalm 46 or Deuteronomy 11:18-21, 26-28; Psalm 31:1-5, 19-24; Romans 1:16-17, 3:22b-28 (29-31); Matthew 7:21-29

The one way of salvation: Learning from the ark, looking to Christ To view the Genesis flood exclusively in terms of judgment is to see only one side of what God was doing. As well as judging, He was also saving - ‘In this ship a few people - eight in all - were saved by water’ (1 Peter 3:20). The ark points forward to Christ ‘who came back from death to life’, Christ who ‘saves’ us (1 Peter 3:21). God was working out His purpose of salvation. In Noah’s day, the remnant of faith was very small, yet the promise of God's love was given to them - ‘I will establish My covenant with you’ (Genesis 6:18). Even when wickedness threatens to overwhelm us, we still have God’s promise of love, ‘the new covenant in Christ’s blood’ (1 Corinthians 11:25). ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’(1 John 1:7). Knowing that Christ loved us and died for us, we are to be like Noah (Genesis 6:22). We are to walk with the Lord and serve Him. ‘The Lord closed the door behind them…

Trinity Sunday (First Sunday after Pentecost): Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Getting our priorities right: God, His Word, His Spirit - at the centre of our life

The Bible’s opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right. (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there. (b) The priority of God’s Word (Genesis 1:3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the Word of the Lord. (c) The priority of God’s Spirit (Genesis 1:2). All was ‘empty’, all was ‘darkness’, yet the ‘Spirit of God’ was at work, and transformation was set in motion. Here, we have God’s priorities, set out in the Bible’s first three verses. Putting God first and listening to His Word, we are to pray for the moving of God’s Spirit, ‘hovering over’ our lives to transform them. For those who make God’s priorities their own, there is a promise of great blessing (Psalm 1:1-2). It is the great blessing of knowing Jesus Christ, our Saviour, as ‘God with us’  (Matthew 1:23). God speaks, and it is done (Genesis…

Ascension of the Lord: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 or 93 or Daniel 7:9-14; Psalm 24:7-10; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

Jesus is taken up into heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to us. We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified.’ Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up... into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).
Jesus is taken up into heaven. May His Name be exalted in all the earth. ‘Be still, and know that I am Go…

Day of Pentecost: Acts 2:1-21 (or Numbers 11:24-30); Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 (or Acts 2:1-21); John 20:19-23 (or John 7:37-39)

The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ.

‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). ‘In Jerusalem’, on ‘the day of Pentecost’ there are ‘Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven’ (Acts 2:1, 5). They are ‘amazed’ at what they hear - ‘we hear them telling in our own tongue the mighty works of God’ (Acts 2:7-11). The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). ‘To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!’ (Church Hymnary, 374). Speaking ‘as the Spirit gave them utterance’, the apostles pave the way for Peter’s bold proclamation: ‘God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (Acts 2:36). Empowered ‘by the Holy Spirit’, this message - ‘Jesus is Lord’- is still God’s way of bringing people to Himself. Preach Christ. Pray for the Spirit’s power. Look to God for His blessing (Acts 2:41-47).

The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of obedience and blessing.

God is at work among His people, teaching them many le…

Seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:15- 17, 21-26; Psalm 1 (or Jeremiah 10:1-10a); Psalm 108; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

Seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:15- 17, 21-26; Psalm 1 (or Jeremiah 10:1-10a); Psalm 108; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19
We need the Holy Spirit. We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified’. Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up... into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).
We need the Holy Sc…

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20 or Ezekiel 43:1-7a; Psalm 115; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

In our worship, we listen to the Word of the Lord. Notice the importance of the Scriptures for both public ministry - ‘reasoning with them from the Scriptures’ and private devotion - ‘examining the Scriptures every day’ (Acts 17:2, 11). We need the Word of the Lord on the Lord’s Day. We need the Word of the Lord every day. God is not the ‘unknown God’. He has made himself known to us. For many, He seems to be the ‘unknown God’. We must seek to lead them beyond a vague awareness of ‘the God who made the world’ to a real knowledge of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our salvation (Acts 17:24, 3). When our faith is grounded in the Scriptures, we will not think of God as the ‘unknown God’ about whom we can know very little. We will make it our ambition ‘to know Christ and the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10). ‘Let us press on to know the Lord’(Hosea 6:3).
In our worship, we hear the Story of God’s salvation. ‘Come and see what God has done’ (Psalm 66:5). God i…