unsplash-logoTyler Nix

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35 NIV)

Family can be an odd thing - we can choose our friends, but not our family. And our families can be wonderful, terrible, or possibly both. Jesus promises that in all the mess of life, we can be forgiven all our sins and be part of his family.

I hope you’ll be able to join us either in person, or online, as we look together at a passage where Jesus tells us about how we can be part of his family.

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Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. … For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:5, 16, NIV)

Christians believe in one God, consisting of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As much as we try to find pictures to help us understand God’s three-ness and one-ness, it is impossible to find one that truly describes how it works.

What we can know is that, from before the creation of the world, God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - have been working together for our salvation. God’s rescue plan for us is part of the unity of God, and of his love for us.

We see it in John’s gospel as well: God the Father sent God the Son to rescue us from death, and so that we can have new life through God the Holy Spirit.

I hope you’ll be able to join us either in person, or online, as we look together at God’s love for us, and how we can be part of God’s family.

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unsplash-logoPaul Bulai

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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 2:1-4, NIV)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised his followers that they would not be left alone. He promised a comforter and a helper for them - the Holy Spirit.

The arrival of the promised Holy Spirit on the first 120 or so Christians was a spectacular moment. There was a noise like a violent wind and something that looked like fire. Being filled with the Holy Spirit wasn’t just an internal, personal moment, but one that caused them to speak in other languages.

I hope you’ll be able to join us either in person, or online, as we recall the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the first believers and see what the Holy Spirit means for us as well.

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unsplash-logoColin Blenis

Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’ (Acts 1:21-22, NIV)

Christians have good news - the best news. Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension are to be shared with the whole world. When the apostles met together after Judas’ death, they carefully chose someone who had also been a witness to the whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The more we know and understand the good news that we have, the more we will want to share it with others.

I hope you’ll be able to join us either in person, or online, as we see that because Jesus is alive, we have good news to share.

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unsplash-logoArtem Beliaikin

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:46b-48a, NIV)

Last week, we saw Philip meet the ultimate outsider. He told the man about Jesus, the man believed and was baptised. This week could look like more of the same: Peter goes to ‘outsiders’ and they believe and are baptised. Why do we need to see that same thing again? Perhaps because it’s easy to lose sight of how no-one needs to be excluded from God. No-one is too far from God; no-one is so different from us that we can think that Jesus is not for them. Everyone can receive the Holy Spirit because they believe.

I hope you’ll be able to join us either in person, or online, as we see again how the resurrection of Jesus means that outsiders can become insiders.

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