Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to have been a follower of Jesus at the time of the very first Easter?
The feeling of emptiness with Jesus’ crucifixion… and then the surprise and elation at his resurrection… and then the bizarre period of time with his frequent appearances… and then the witnessing of his ascension into Heaven.
So much happened in such a brief time, and what looked like failure for Jesus’ kingdom was instead a time of excitement and anticipation.
It is with this in mind that the Bible’s book of ‘Acts’ was written for us, providing a powerful witness to how the message of Jesus led thousands to become his followers, which then led them to send that message to the ends of the earth, like ripples in a pond.
Given the shape of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it should have been no surprise to us that the ministry of his Holy Spirit brought great highs and lows to the first Christians.
At times, there was a great buzz as people finally understood that Jesus was the Messiah, which was accompanied at times with some miraculous displays of the power of the Holy Spirit.
At the same time, there were many moments of deliberation, as the Jewish believers in Jesus tried to come to terms with the challenges of including non-Jewish ‘Gentiles’ in the kingdom of God.
And at the same time, there were many moments where the leaders of God’s church were inflicted with horrible wounds as they were persecuted for speaking the truth about Jesus.
The story of Acts is the story of the launching of the church, with all its highs and lows, and it helps us understand the place that we have in the storyline of the building of the church of Christ.
What a time to be alive!
This weekend we kick off our all-new, eighteen-week series on the book of Acts titled ‘Launching the Church’. It’s going to be a thrill to walk alongside the people who experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as the church experienced explosive growth in the weeks, months and years after Jesus’ death.
This is a perfect week to join us as we kick off this new series with Jesus’ words before he left the earth. That’s why this week’s talk is called ‘Prepare to Launch!’, as we look at Acts chapter one.
As we return to normal programming, we’re also going to have our popular question and answer segment, where I get the opportunity to answer your tough questions about what the Bible teaches about us and God.
These are the questions I’ll be tackling this weekend:
So, we’d really love you to join us at either 5pm Saturday for our all-age church (with creche, kids’ program, then dinner, then youth group), or 9am Sunday for our classic Anglican service (followed by tasty espresso and treats).
Grace and peace, Jodie.