Hi everyone, it’s Mick here; with my wife Tricia we have the great privilege of leading STC Sheffield, truly an amazing church family! It’s September and welcome to a new week, indeed a new year of STC Podcasts; a free, Monday to Friday resource to help us to build Bible based spiritual foundations in our lives as we follow Jesus every day. Each day has a reading from the bible, a thought for the day based on that reading given by one of our experienced STC staff team followed by a prayer for the day and a great worship song, again from our STC worship team.
You can find these daily Podcasts on our website or on the the iTunes Store. If this resource is blessing in your life why not pass it on to someone else perhaps through a conversation or social media or a carrier pigeon! Pass on the blessing – it might just change someone’s life! STC Podcasts are a great way to daily connect with Jesus!
Over these next weeks and months we will be hearing again the story of how the early church began and developed as we read passages from Acts and Paul’s letters. We will see how a group of ordinary people like you and me, who had met with and followed Jesus, became a movement of love that changed the world. I am excited about this year of STC Podcasts because it reminds me again of the power of God’s love – because if it happened then with this small group of followers, it can happen in our day through us!
Let’s ask Jesus to speak into our lives every day as we listen, read and reflect upon these familiar Bible stories. September 2019 – let’s go with Podcast number 1.
Before we get into these stories in Acts this week, first some background. The book of Acts was written by a man called Luke about 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus. This is the same man who wrote the gospel of Luke. Acts is a kind of companion book to Luke’s gospel; a kind of bridge for the writings of the whole NT as it joins what Jesus “began to do and to teach” (1:1) as told in the Gospels with what he continued to do and teach through the apostles’ preaching and the birth of the early church. Its full name is Acts of the Apostles but perhaps it should really be called Acts of the Holy Spirit as the work of the Spirit is seen in every chapter and every story.
Luke was a physician and was with Paul on his missionary journeys and indeed Paul refers to him as ‘the beloved physician’ (Col4:4). Luke is a great writer – he tells stories from the front line and you can feel the vibrant growth of this early church! Acts reveals the potential of the church when it is guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit – that’s why it is so relevant for us today because we so need the church in our nation to be released in the power of the Holy Spirit and to grow. Let’s start to believe again that the church can actually grow and thrive!
Let’s listen to these first verses in Acts and let’s imagine we are hearing them for the first time …
Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptised in water; you will be baptised in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
Our verse for the day is V4 ‘wait for what the Father promised, the promise you heard from me’
So what is this promise? Here what Jesus says in Luke 24:49
I will send to you what my Father has promised … power from on high’ (Luke 24:49)
The first and primary gift God gives to us is the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit draws us closer to Jesus every day; the Holy Spirit releases ‘the power from on high’ – the power of heaven into our lives every day; the Holy Spirit is the key to receiving the blessings of God in our lives every day; the Holy Spirit reminds us every day of the promises of Jesus.
Did you know that Jesus has a promise for you today? More than that, he has promises for you everyday. He promises forgiveness, guidance, provision, protection, wisdom, peace, healing, hope – how we need the hope of Jesus in our world today. God’s promises… the list goes on.
Remember v4 ‘wait for what the Father promised, the promise you heard from me’.
As we begin this new and exciting Autumn term at STC let’s be resolved to keep close to Jesus, to receive his power from on high, to enjoy his blessings and look to share them with others and in these challenging days, remember his promises of hope every day.
A final thought: over many years of following Jesus I have seen so may times the reality of this truth – the Lord Jesus Christ always keeps his promises!
Lord, today I ask you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. As I worship you now, I receive afresh the promise of your power from on high. Amen.
READING: Acts 1:1-5
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’