Church Information - 30th May

30th May 2020

Benefice of Farleigh, Candover and Wield

Dear friends,

This is a combined “Dear Friends” for June, and your weekly letter from us both.

Stephen’s scribbles

We reach Pentecost this weekend, the time when not only do we look back to the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, but also to our own personal Pentecosts, when we encountered and were baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. Too often the Church has tried to control the work of the Holy Spirit, giving the impression that only at confirmation can the Holy Spirit be conferred on a candidate by the laying on of hands by the bishop, and that once you’ve been prayed for, that’s it.

Yet the scriptures and church history give a very different picture, for it is that the Holy Spirit is to control us, not us Him; and He moves as He wills, people will be filled with Him when they ask ( Luke 11:13, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”). The Holy Spirit comes to indwell us first, to assure us of our salvation and certainty that God has accepted us and loves us (Romans 5” The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”) Second, He is given to change us to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:18,”We who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, we are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”)

Third, He is given so we have the power to say no to sin and yes to His lordship – ( Romans 8:2, “The law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death.”)

Fourth He is given so we can live the new risen life of Jesus now (Romans 8:11,”If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”)

The Holy Spirit is given also to equip us for ministry – pastoral gifts, administrative, financial and organising gifts, healing, counselling and deliverance gifts, abilities to speak and share Jesus with others, intercessory gifts of prayer, teaching and evangelistic gifts, so that we all grow together as a body of believers. (Ephesians 4: 11, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”)

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Is the question Paul put to some people he met in Acts 19 at Ephesus; “We have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit” they replied. Paul explained the gospel to them more fully, they were all baptised in water and he laid hands on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Maybe the question we all need to ask ourselves is just that one – did we receive the Holy Spirit- or is there something missing in my experience that shows my experience of God is “far – off”, is shallow, incomplete; has God got more for me than I realise? Am I prepared to take the step of asking Him for more of Him to fill my life? We’ll never know if we don’t ask.

“ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Ask – may I even say, I dare you to ask – seek Him, you’ll find more for you than you know now. And He will work things in your life which will enrich you beyond your dreams.

Stephen

Now other matters:--

  1. Moves are afoot to re-open churches for worship, and consultations have begun from bishops with clergy and PCCs this week, with some exploratory questions about how we will do this, whilst for the moment trying to observe spacial distancing – and how that affects children whose families want to return to worship. We don’t want to rush at this, as we do have to consider practicalities, whilst remembering that there has been a lot of fear stoked up by media about the transmission of the virus. Please pray for us to be wise, sensible but also use common sense – 90% of us have been isolated from others for several weeks, so if we had the virus, we don’t have it now, and so we won’t transmit what we don’t have. The question is whether there are folk who have it but are unaware, and who may be transferring it to others – yet there’s been very few cases locally, so evidentially the likelihood is extremely low. We will say more next week as things become clearer – if shops are to be opened in two weeks’ time, then churches will certainly follow swiftly – but we will need to be sensible.
  2. Thank you to all who joined us in prayer over the last ten days of Thy Kingdom Come. More next year!
  3. Please continue to pray for David and his Achilles injury – it is slow going and debilitating so he needs some encouragement.
  4. Prayer and Bible Reading diary for 1 June to 12 July will be on the website when you receive this, and has been sent to those who continue to receive it by e-mail – if you want to receive it direct please let Stephen know so he can add you to the distribution list.

Keep praying for one another, and services will be online on Sunday for Pentecost tomorrow – we know how many are watching… hope to see more of you taking the step and joining in. Click on the blue line under the address above and it will take you to the benefice website – click on online services.. and remember there are subtitles – click on box below the video which looks like a rectangular speech bubble- sometimes the subtitles are worth having on for their mirth-bringing interpretations of words or hymns!

As always we are available on phone, email, or face to face over a garden gate or wall, for all matters.

May God bless each of you this week, and keep you safe but also give you courage to step out and re-engage with God’s world.

Every blessing,

With our prayers and greetings,

David and Stephen