The Junction Online Resources


28
Jun 2020
THE JUNCTION | 28.6

MOSES & THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing our series on Faith Over Fear by looking at another key moment in the life of Moses. So far we have looked at the burning bush and the pillar of fire and cloud of dust. Today we think about one of the most memorable moments in the Old Testament – God giving the Israelites the law and the ten commandments.

One of the most common ways these laws are viewed is that they are “God’s rulebook” for us to follow.
How do you feel about rules? Probably not great right?…

A more accurate way of reading the commandments is as a kind of marriage vow between God’s people and God.
When you look at it like that, does that change how you think about the commandments?
I’ve not met many people that are frustrated by the marriage vows they have taken.
They are made from a relationship… they set out how you behave as a married couple.

It’s the same with this relationship of promise (covenant) between God and His people… God sets out how he wanted His people to behave in the world. How they would be different to those around them. The laws were about protecting the vulnerable, keeping a rhythm of life (sabbath,) protecting the relationships of people (don’t kill them,) and the provision of grace through sacrifices. It was big stuff.

The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20:1-21 NIV)

And God spoke all these words:


“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Reflection

Did you notice that, at the end, the people were too afraid to go with Moses to be closer to God?
Fear can lead us away from getting close to God… If you know the rest of the story, when Moses eventually comes back down from the mountain the people had decided to create an idol out of gold. They made a calf and worshiped it as the god that olead them out of slavery. All because they were afraid that Moses wasn’t going tocome back.

One way of reading this is to see that the Israelites, in their fear, wanted to be like all the other tribes around them. To do what they were doing. There is comfort to be found in conforming to the ways of the world. I know we don’t make little statues and bow down to them… but we are definitley guilty of sacrificing to idols in our lives. Worship can be defined as: to have or show a strong feeling of respect and admiration for God or a god. If we aren’t carful we can treat things like success, fame, money…. as gods (notice the lowercase ‘g’.) We then sacrifice our time, energy, resources… and so on to this god. Ultimately, worshiping anything other that God isn’t going to be life filling or lead to happiness.

  • Has it been hard to keep good habbits in lockdown?
  • Have you changed your routines over the past 14 weeks?
  • Does worry or fear cause you do do some habbits?

The greatest thing to remember is that the God who made these vows with His people is the same yesterday, today and forever. He always made a way for His people to be forgiven; it’s part of the promise. Built into the relationship was the ability to return. In the New Testament we can read about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and how he came to complete the laws of Moses that we may recieve forgiveness in his name – God always makes a way for his people to be drawn back into relationship with him.

Worship

Prayer

Dear God, thank you that you are a God who makes and keeps promises to us. Help us to put you first in all things and we’re sorry for when we havn’t put you first in our lives. Help us to make good habbits even when things are difficult or strange around us. Help us to be holy in this world with pandemics and protests, that people will see you thogh Christians right now. Amen.

Maybe you could reflect more on the things we put before God…

Or how we can be different to those around us right now…


21
Jun 2020
THE JUNCTION | 21.6

MOSES & THE PILLAR OF FIRE

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing our series on Faith Over Fear by looking at another key moment in the life of Moses. His life is full of moments of faith over fear; it’s kind of a reoccuring theme. This might be a bit of a new one for you though… If you’ve read the story of Exodus before (or seen the movie!) you might remember the big moments: the burning bush.. the plagues… the sea parting… the 10 commandments… but you might not know that God lead the way for His people out of slavery in Egypt towards the Promised Land.

Let’s take a look!

The Cloud Above the Tabernacle (Numbers 9:15-23 NIV)

On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

Fear

The Israelite people were following Moses out of Egypt but there were a few issues. Some didn’t trust that Moses was leading them well. They didn’t trust God’s plan. And to make things worse they were getting grumpy because they felt that they were fed better when they were slaves in Egypt. Wow.

When you think about it we’re not that different to the Israelites. You may have taken a step into something feeling like it’s what God wants for your life but then found it hard work only to complain that things would have been better if you’d never tried! Fear, worry and doubt can derail us from God’s plan. Not just that… A lot of the time we’re in darkness, not even knowing where to start. The pilar of fire that guided the Israelites towards the Promised Land lit the way and protected the people. The writer tells us that God’s presence was the pillar of fire at night.

We know that God’s presence has been guiding and protecting His people all through history. This is where this gets super juicy! – Theologians call the pillar of fire a theophany; which means a visible appearance of God. “but I thought we couldn’t see God!…” Well, that’s true, but all through the Bible God is making his presence visible (most obviously in Jesus = God in flesh) but in the burning bush and as the Angel of the Lord…. Check out this amazing video from the Spiritual Beings series by the Bible Project.

What does it mean for God’s presence to be at work today?

How do you know God is at work in this pandemic?

One massive way that God’s presence works is through the Holy Spirit leading followers of Jesus to greater love, generosity and peace. In the midst of a situation that could leave poeple feeling fearful Christians are often the ones who keep calm in the storm and show care when others don’t. Historically where there were diseases that took hold of a city or town the rich would leave quickly to avoid getting contaminated; but it was communities of followers of Jesus who would stick it out, look after the sick and be there for people. When it has passed people would ask them “why did you stay when it was so risky?” Their response would be that they follow a man called Jesus who gave his life for others and theyhave been told to do likewise. (I found this in a podcast from NT Wright.)

Worship

Prayer


31
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 14.6

MOSES & THE BURNING BUSH

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing our series on Faith Over Fear by looking back to the life of Moses. His life is full of moments of faith over fear; it’s kind of a reoccuring theme. Today we’re going to look at the story of the burning bush: Moses call to action from the God who hears his people’s cry. This week we’re going to join with our CCB:Kids to hear Luke’s reflection on the story of the burning bush. The passage is from Exodus 3 and is read by the wonderful Bacon family.

Prayer

Make some time to pray through the idea of God wanting to be our friend. Spend some time bringing the things that worry you to God.


31
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 7.6

PETER & THE HOLY SPIRIT

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are starting a new series, looking at Bible stories that help us deal with our response to fear. This is so relevant right now as the lockdown rules change, some can return to school and college, some can begin to go to work and others prepare to leave for uni or move into the next chapter of life. Uncertainty can lead to fear and worry. We are going to pick up where our last series left off because the events of Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit, brought about a change in Jesus’ followers. And there was one in particular that helps us with fear… that is the disciple Peter.

Check out this Bibe Project video and pay attention to Peter.

Peter Addresses the Crowd (Acts 2:14-41)

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Reflection

Peter is a colourful character and a rough fisherman. Before Pentecost he always had something to say that got him in trouble or was wrong. You might remember the story about Peter denying even knowing Jesus, let alone being one of his closest friends. But when he receives the Holy Spirit at Pentecost something changes in Peter. He is able to speak clearly about Jesus; so clearly that thousands gave their lives to be followers of Jesus too.

What does this have to do with fear?

Well, all the disciples were fearful at this point. Remember thier friend Jesus had been killed on the cross and, although they had seen him alive and risen from the dead, they were anxiously waiting. Waiting for the next thing to happen.

I’ll be you know what that feels like… “why can’t I just fastforward to…?” “can’t this day just hurry up?!” “When will this lockdown be over?!” Well it’s comforting that the disciples know that feel. So, they are waiting as they’ve been told to do.

Then the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost and fills them all and it’s Peter, who has a little problem with saying the right thing, who gets up and speaks. The Holy Spirit has many effects in  our lives and one of the main ones is to witness to God (that means to point people to him.) He still does that in us today. Helping us to speak of God when we don’t have the words. When I say speak, I mean more than just words… our whole lives can witness to God’s love.

In the second letter to Timothy we can read this…

It’s not that bad things won’t happen to you anymore when you are a Christian… They do! But when we are filled with the Spirit we have God’s strength in us to help us when we are afraid. This verse from 2 Timothy reminds us that it’s God’s Spirit that helps us to deal with the presence of fear.

What are you afraid of?

How can you work on those fears?

What would it look like to ask God to help?

Prayer

Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit at Pentecost and for promising to keep filling us today. Please help me when I am scared and anxious. May you keep filling me with your spirit of power and love to be a witness for you when many others are fearful and worried about things. We pray for those that are making decisions for about the lockdown and world health that they don’t make their decisions from a place of fear. Amen.


26
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 31.5

HOLY SPIRIT SESSIONS #4 // PENTECOST

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are finishing our little series looking at the Holy Spirit and how he is at work today. Today we’re looking at the story of  pentecost, where the Holy Spirit filled the first followers of Jesus while they waited in a room in Jerusalem. As always we are tracking with the Bible Project video so you can check that out here. The story of Pentecot is celebrated as the birthday of the church, it’s the day the church exploded onto the scene as gatherings of people (mostly Jews) who wanted to talk about Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah and son of God. These gatherings in houses and around the temple are called the Early Church.

Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)

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.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Reflection

Have you ever wondered why so many people had gathered in Jerusalem?
The day we celebrate as Pentecost was already a special day in the Jewish calendar. It’s called Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks) and is a kind of  harvest festival on the anniversary of God giving the Torah on Mt. Sinai. At the time of Jesus Shavuot was celebrated with public reading of scripture, lighting candles and staying up all night to head God’s word.

Do you think it’s significant that this day marks the birth of the church?
In what ways is God’s word being given on Sinai like the Holy Spirit filling Jesus’ followers?

In this week’s Kids work I made this little section about how the Holy Spirit is at work today using the different images we have for him: wind & fire.
Check it out here:

Thy Kingdom Come

“On the Day of Pentecost, God sent His Holy Spirit, as Helper and Comforter, and enabled the disciples to proclaim – in different languages – the wonders of God so that people from all  ations could understand. This shows us that the Spirit of God is present for every situation. When we share our faith with our friends, we can ask the Spirit to help us ‘translate’ the good news of God’s love so that they can understand how it affects them in their situation. At Pentecost we remember that the Holy Spirit is living in us. Let’s not get too used to that amazing fact! What a privilege we have. The Spirit awakens us to the love God has for us and helps us to love others.” TKC2020 – Prayer Journal

Worship

Prayer

Holy Spirit, thank You that You are living in me, showing me God’s love and helping me share that love with others. Amen.

Reflect on:
Where do you need to experience new life being breathed?
What needs refining with the fire of the Spirit?
Where can you rely more on God’s filling Spirit?


19
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 24.5

HOLY SPIRIT SESSIONS #3

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing to look at the Holy Spirit. Today we’re looking at the story of Jesus’ Ascension Day and his departing words for his disciples in the book of Acts. It’s in the run up to Pentecost. We’re also in Thy Kingdom Come; where we join the global church praying “thy Kingdom come.” The theme for today in Thy Kingdom Come is all about being sorry and how through God’s love we’ve been forgiven. Head over to Thy Kingdom Come‘s website for more info on how to join in this year.

Jesus taken up into Heaven (Acts 1:4-9)

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 baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Reflection

As we think about Jesus ascending to Heaven we read about how he told his disciples to wait for the helper to be sent. The disciples were eager to see the next thing. They seem to be itching to see what would happen next. Their question to Jesus about when the kingdom would be restored can come off a little bit like they didn’t know or understand what had happened at Easter a while earlier; but I think they were keen to know how all this was going to go.

How often are we impatient? For some of us patience is easy and for some: not so much.

They wanted to know the end goal – God’s kingdom fully present on Earth. But Jesus only told them the next step. They were to wait for the promised spirit to fill them, but not just for themselves to be filled for their own good… for them to be filled and to go out to speak Good News to the ends of the Earth.

It seems like the lockdown is beginning to be eased a little bit, so as this happens the ways that we show love to others change more and more.
What can you do to share Jesus’ love to others?
What are you eager to do when we get through all this?
What do you see as your next steps in your faith journey?

Worship

Prayer

Loving God, I am sorry for the times when
I have not loved others as You love. Thank
You that, before I thought of confessing,
You had forgiven me. I confess all that is
not right in my life today and ask for the
forgiveness You so lovingly give. May this
love transform my friends’ lives also.

During Thy Kingdom Come we are encouraged to pray for 5 friends and pray “thy kingdom come” in their lives. Why not pick those people now and then try today’s action:

During this week, how can I lay aside
something important to me, so as to better
serve one of my five?


17
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 17.5

HOLY SPIRIT SESSIONS #2

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing to look at the Holy Spirit. This week we are looking at the story of Jesus’ Baptism. When Jesus is baptised he is filled with the Holy Spirit as he descends onto Jesus like a dove. You may remember the story. We’re also using the Bible Project’s video on the Holy Spirit to keep us grounded on where these inividual stories fall into the larger Biblical narrative. Last week we thought about how the Holy Spirit, in the Old Testament, filled specific people for specific tasks at specific times but we always need to keep in our heads that the Holy Spirit is now available to all people. In the story of Jesus’ baptism we get even more of a glimpse of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives. He brings life through us.

Jesus’ Baptism (Matthew 3:13-17)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

______________________________________________________________

Reflection

This is one of those parts of the Bbile that I can imagine quite clearly. The picture of Jesus in the water with John the Baptist and then (in my head at least) the moment when God’s Spirit comes down onto Jesus. Was there anything that stood out to you in that short passage? If you’ve heard this before, was there anything that you’re hearing differently?

As the Bible Project video said, it’s this moment, Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit that begins his ministry. God’s Spirit empowers Jesus to bring about the new creation. The Holy Spirit, who is still active today, tansforming us so that we can love God and love others. When we try to do this on our own strength we get tired, frustrated, bored, angry… the list goes on. Without inviting God’s Spirit into our lives we are going to struggle to love.

It’s just like God said through the prophet Ezekiel said:

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

We need transformed hearts. Transformed by the Holy Spirit and when this happens the fruit of the spirit will be changing everything in us as our lives begin to look more like Jesus’.

Baptism

As the story was all about baptism it’s good to think about baptism in our context today. Many of you will have been baptised when you were very little if you grew up in the Church of England (that’s what Christ Church Beckenham is part of.) Some of  you may remember the baptism services of your brothers or sisters or seen pictures of your own. There isn’t “one way” to do baptism. I (Ed) got baptised as part of my confirmation service as an adult.

In the CofE the traditional way is for people to be baptised as a child. The parents make promises to raise their child in the church and to be a follower of Jesus. When the child is ole enough to make that decision for themselves, to say “yes!” to Jesus then they go through a confirmation service. Confirming the promises that their parents made over them in their baptism.

In the coming months after this lockdown has finished, we’re hoping to be able to offer confirmation classes at Christ Church Beckenham for all those interested in saying “yes” to Jesus. If you’re interested in confirmation and want to know more let me know (ed@ccb.org.uk). Just like Jesus’ baptism was for him, the confirmation is a defining moment in our journey of faith and is totally transformative.

______________________________________________________________

Prayer

As a prayer activity let’s make an origami dove as a reminder of God’s Holy Spirit. The dove can be a little tricky.
The dove is a well known symbol of peace and we believe that when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit our lives are filled with peace.

You could pray this prayer:
Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to lead us, to shape and transform us. Help me to change the things in my life that are not loving to you or others. Amen.

Image from:
http://easyorigamiinstructionsforkidscrafts.blogspot.com/2014/10/origami-dove-printable-instructions.html


10
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 10.5

HOLY SPIRIT SESSIONS #1

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are starting a new series on the Holy Spirit. On the 31st of May we celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of the church. We remember that day because it’s the day that the promised holy spirit fills the disciples. Will get to Pentecost at the end of this series. Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to look at how the holy spirit worked throughout the entire Biblical narrative. in the old Testament the holy spirit empowered specific people for specific tasks at specific times.

Check out this Bible Project video on the Holy Spirit:

In the coming weeks we are going to follow the main parts of this little video. Today were going to think about how the holy spirit was present at creation and how He is the creative energy of God. We also going to look at the story of Bezalel mentioned in the video.

In the first lines of Genesis one we read that the spirit of God was hovering over creation. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about what that means? I must’ve read it hundreds of times before ever even thinking that He was the holy spirit the same spirit that we celebrate and invite into our lives as Christians. We need to be careful not to describe the Holy Spirit in a strange force like way like he’s from Star Wars… Just like the Bible project video says, it’s more like an invisible presence, an energising breath. Hebrew the word is ruach.

  • How does God being creative affect us?
  • If we are to image God, what does it mean to be made and filled with his Holy Spirit?

Bezalel

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.

______________________________________________________________

Reflection

In the short piece from the book of Exodus we read how the holy spirit fills Bezalel for a specific purpose. He’s going to design and build the tabernacle and and things in it. (The tabernacle is where gods presence is going to dwell like His home among his people – it’s a big deal!) I always wonder if Bezalel was always an artist… I feel like that’s how God has worked in my life. Using the things that I’m already okay or fairly good at, then using those gifts to bring about His glory.

As I said at the start, this is how God’s Holy Spirit worked in the old Testament. Filling specific people, for specific tasks at specific times. In the old Testament the holy spirit filled people called prophets. Some of those prophets promised a time in the future we are gods holy spirit wouldn’t just be for a few people it would be for all. We know that on Pentecost God’s Holy Spirit filled his disciples and still fills us his followers today. More on that in the coming weeks.

  • What do you take away from this story?
  • Where are your gifts and talents and how can you ask God to use them?

Charlie Mackesy

I’ve recently found the work of Charlie Mackesy really helpful here. You might have heard of his book: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. Charlie is a Christian and goes to HTB. His writing and his artwork is so beautiful and it’s really instructive when it comes to thinking about our spiritual journey. The words of the horse I like hearing from God.

Check out this little video as he describes his book:

Prayer

As a prayer, why don’t you pray come Holy Spirit. People have been praying that prayer for hundreds of years. When you pray that you’re asking God to breathe into you His creative spirit, his spirit of life. It’s God’s Holy Spirit that we need more than ever when things are difficult, tough and a struggle.


03
May 2020
THE JUNCTION | 3.5

The Beach Breakfast

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s Online Junction session!

Last session that was uploaded we were beginning to think about the stories of all those who met with the risen Jesus and how their encounter with him completely transformed their lives. We looked at the story of two of Jesus followers who were leaving Jerusalem feeling sad after Jesus had been killed on the cross. When Jesus appeared to them on the road their sadness was transformed into joy as He explained the scriptures to them and they got it!

In this session we look at the beach breakfast.

The Beach Breakfast

Jesus later appeared to his disciples along the shore of Lake Tiberias. Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, and the brothers James and John, were there, together with two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing!”
The others said, “We will go with you.” They went out in their boat. But they didn’t catch a thing that night.

Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize who he was. Jesus shouted, “Friends, have you caught anything?”
“No!” they answered.
So he told them, “Let your net down on the right side of your boat, and you will catch some fish.”
They did, and the net was so full of fish that they could not drag it up into the boat.

Jesus’ favorite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon heard that it was the Lord, he put on the clothes that he had taken off while he was working. Then he jumped into the water. The boat was only about a hundred yards from shore. So the other disciples stayed in the boat and dragged in the net full of fish.

When the disciples got out of the boat, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus told his disciples, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were one hundred fifty-three large fish, but still the net did not rip.

Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.

Things to think about…

When Jesus appears on the shore the disciples have gone back to fishing on the sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias is another name for it.) If you remember, some of the dispciples were fishermen BEFORE Jesus asked them to follow him. What does that tell you about thier situation? Jesus, their friend, teacher, Rabbi, had been killed. Yes, they’d seem him but they were still afraid, confused and not sure what to do now.

They did what we do… They defaulted to where they were in control. To where they were comfortable.

When I am stressed or anxious about something I have noticed I have a few habits that I default to…
Especially right now. Our journey into parenthood hasn’t been particularly easy and I have found that I read books that are wayyy more complicated than I can understand.
I don’t know why, but it seems to calm me down.
Is it that helpful? Not really.
So why do I do it? No idea.

What do you do when you are stressed or anxious?
Maybe it’s a series you’ve watched 1000 times?
Or a song that just sums up the mood completely?

For some it could be that a thought pattern is what is commfortable… Comfortable doesn’t mean “good” or even good for you.
When something comes up we can repeat our comfy narrative: “you knew you weren’t good enough” or something like that anyway.

I think we can learn something from the disciples in our the story you’ve just read.
They defaulted to doing what they were comfortable doing. What they could control.
Fishing. They were good at that!

What else were they supposed to do?

Jesus had called them to be “fishers of men” now. That calling was supposed to outlast Jesus time spent with them.

Why do you think Jesus performed this miracle with the catch of fish?
What do you think the significance of Jesus inviting the disciples for a meal is?
What do you think they spoke to Jesus about?

This story shows that in the middle of anxiety and confusion and fear our response is to trust.
To trust in God who is faithful through the storm. Not that there won’t be any more storms.
Jesus invites his disciples to a meal, to share with them.
It’s what they really needed.
They needed reminding of His presence. The Peace he brings. And the call he makes on their lives.

We need to hear that for ourselves too.
We all have those things we default to and, it can be hard to do, but when we offer those situations to God in prayer and remind ourselves of who He is, His promises to us and His presence in our lives. We need reminding that we are still invited to Jesus table.


19
Apr 2020
THE JUNCTION | 19.4

The Road To Emmaus

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s Online Junction session!

Over the next few weeks we are going to dig into the stories of those people that encountered the risen Jesus. Did you know that literally thousands of people saw Jesus after he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday? When people saw Jesus again they were completely changed and their lives were never the same again. When we encounter Jesus today I believe that we too are changed forever. There’s a phrase: “come-to-Jesus” moment. Basically it means that they have had a defining moment when they felt that a complete turn around was needed. You might remember some testimonies you’ve heard that have moments like this. Or even the story of Saul (who became Paul after his come-to-Jesus moment) where he literally had a come-to-Jesus moment!

Hvae you seen that picture of Jesus face on a pancake?

  • What do you think about these images?
  • Do you think these are real or do you think someone has created them?
  • Sometimes people ‘encounter’ Jesus in a strange place in that they feel His presence – have you ‘encountered’ Jesus like this e.g. in a thought, or a feeling etc.?
  • If you could ask one thing of Jesus today what would it be and why?

Today we are going to be looking at an encounter that two of Jesus’ disciples had with Him after seeing Jesus killed on Good Friday. These men were not sure if He was alive or not, even though His body was missing from the tomb. They had heard the rumours that he had been raised to life but hadn’t stuck around to hear if they were true. Jesus meets with them on a walk and it is only later on in the encounter that the disciples recognise who the ‘stranger’ really is.

The Road To Emmaus | Luke 24:13-35

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Things to think about…

How many deep conversations have you had lately?
I think in this time spent socially isolating it’s been a strange, mixed, answer to that. It almost feels like some of my conversations have been deeper than before, while others become more trivial. It’s great to talk about trivial things… shoping, the weather… where is Carol Baskin’s husband? (Tiger King reference, very sorry) but is there a substitue for a really good, deep, meaningful conversation?

I love how, when Jesus joins them, he asks “what are you talking about?” Jesus is looking for a way into the conversation. He still does this for us. He wants in on our conversations. It can feel a bit daughnting to have a Jesus conversation with a friend but it can be the most natural thing… I’ve found that when people tell me they are going through things I ask them if they’d mind if I prayed for the (shhh don’t tell them I’d do it anyway!) sometimes they want to talk about it or say “yes please!” It’s natural. Especially when it comes from relationships.

Also, wouldn’t it have been awesome to hear a Bible study, about Jesus, FROM Jesus?!
Why didn’t they take notes?!
The funny thing is that actually, we live in a time where we have the scriptures… they were still in it. Many people around Jesus didn’t “get it.” The next part of the story, the sending of God’s Holy Spirit, means that we have that encounter with God personally when we come to believe. Bible studies are great and for many people they are how they encounter Jesus’ presence. How do you feel closest to God? There is no substitute for His presence.

Although these two followers didn’t know it at the time, they invited Jesus in. He wouldn’t gatecrash but he is waiting for an invite.In our lives today we have that same choice… to invite Jesus into our lives or not. As followers of Jesus we believe that he walks with us, through His Holy Spirit. Guiding us. Leading us and shaping us into His image.

What do you think about the story of the road to Emmaus?
Where are you in the story?
Are you finding more about who this Jesus was? Are the pieces taking shape? Are you filled with joy? Are you thinking about inviting Him in?

‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’
(Jeremiah 29:13)

‘O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water’
(Psalm 63:1)

Spend some time in prayer, seeking God’s presence in your life.
We can do this by asking in prayer.
You can even just reflect on the story and where you feel you’re at.