From this week, we will be beginning a sermon series in the Book of Acts. This Sunday we will be looking at Acts 1:1-14. This is an imaginative piece about what it might have felt like to have been with Jesus before his ascension as these verses describe it.
Like all good stories, our story began with a puzzle.
We thought it would happen now. We could see how it would happen. It seemed perfect.
All that had been lost would be restored. All the shame would have been worth it. All the pain would have meaning.
A restored Israel.
The King had risen from the dead – no doubt at all about that. So now we were ready for the obvious next move: the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
We would rule our own land. We would see a nation turn to God. God would deal with all his enemies. This would be our moment. The moment our ancestors had longed to see. It would be ours.
We just wanted to know if it would happen now.
He answered our question and floored us.
After being with him all these years, you’d think we would have been used to it. But he never ceased to surprise us. Just when we thought we knew what would happen next, he threw us. And he did it again now.
He told us that the timetable was above our paygrade.
But then it all got more complicated. He told us we would be filled with his Spirit and that life would become more complex, more adventurous, more glorious.
Everything would be filled. We watched as he ascended. Just as he was filling the whole universe with his presence, he was sending us to the ends of the earth. The promise was that we would fill the world with the good news. He went to heaven for us, ahead of us, but promised that he would go with us and ahead of us into our world.
That’s why it was so much more complicated. We knew Israel. We have no idea about all these other people.
What will they think?
How will they react?
Will we be able to do what he wants?
Jesus seemed to think so.
We were stunned, blinking into the sky. But as those angels said, you can’t stand staring all the time, so we did the only thing that we could – we prayed.
And that’s how our story began. It was all that he promised – strange, exciting, glorious.
It’s the story of the church – and it becomes our story as we follow Jesus into our own world with all the things that we can’t control, all the things that seem beyond our control, all the things that seem far from God’s desire. It’s the story of the Book of Acts.
This week’s life insight is of Helen Dolphin. Helen is part of the Strategic Ministry Team in church (the group that makes things happen) but in her wider life she’s a teacher in Stretford, a mum and a wife. I hope you enjoy listening to her interview.
1. Sunday Gathering
The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
This will be the same link we will use up to 10 May.
2. Home Groups
Last week our home groups began again. During these days we will meet every week. If you haven’t been part of a group in the past but would like to explore it, you will be very welcome to come along. They are Thursday at 8pm. Join us from 7.45pm
The groups are continuing The Prayer Course, so before you come along, make sure you have watched this:
Meeting ID: 998 857 193
3. Friday Prayer Group
The Prayer group continue to meet on Friday mornings. Corinne sends a text around to people with prayer requests so that people can pray at the same time. If you would like to be part of that, contact Corinne directly or Neil.
Thanks for all of you who give to the church as part of your worship. One of the changes that has happened since we can’t meet together is that those of you who used to give to the church on Sunday mornings in the baskets haven’t been able to give. So, this is what you can do:
- You can send us a cheque. Make them payable to Salford Elim Church and send them to Bev Walsh, 47 Moorfield Road, Salford, M6 7EY.
- You can save it all up and give it to us when you can.
OR ‘Ta da!’ there is another way: You can use your smartphone.
- Elim have joined up with Givt, the company that created this solution. First, download the Givt app. Now you can give in the same way you would if you gave cash on Sundays. This is what you need to do:
- Open the app.
- Choose the amount you want to give.
- Choose the third option, give from the List.
- Enter the name of the church in the search bar.
- Tap ‘give’ at the bottom of your screen.
- Finally, press Next to complete the donation.
(There is also an option to use the QR code – if you know what that means!)
If you want more information about any of this, do get in touch with Bev Walsh or Neil.
5. Inviting Others
During these strange days, we want to stay growing as church. You might have friends and family who might be interested in staying in touch with us as a church. Ask them to fill out the form on our church website and we will add them to our mailing list.
Please invite as many people as you can to our gatherings and forward the emails to people who might appreciate them.
Resources and links that might help
1. Easter Stuff
Is it reasonable to believe in the resurrection? Tom Wright is a theologian who is one of those rare people – a brain the size of a planet, and the ability to make it all understandable by the rest of us. This is a very short clip of him talking about the resurrection.
There is also another short video here on the resurrection and some articles if you are interested.
These are the films we used on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, if you want to watch them again.
2. Bible in one year
If you want to read the Bible regularly but need some help (the secret is – we all do!) then I would recommend this reading plan. You can download it and dive in and go. And if you miss a day, don’t worry – just keep going.
3. Spring Harvest
You might have missed some of this, but there’s time to catch up if you want to.
Spring Harvest can’t meet this year obviously, but they are putting their sessions online in real time for free. It’s on 13-17 April and you can find all the details here.
4. Something to make you laugh
This made me laugh most last week.