Welcome to Trendlewood Church online on this beautiful bank holiday weekend. Today’s service is edited and curated by Michelle:
Today is Ascension Sunday on which we remember the Lord Jesus returning to His Father. But as He promised He didn’t leave us alone, He gave us His Holy Spirit to dwell with us.
For the next 2 Sundays we will be looking at aspects of the Holy Spirit to hopefully deepen our understanding of Him.
This week we will be looking at Symbols that represent the Holy Spirit and help us to build a bridge between our understanding and our experience of Him.
Worship lead by David Smith
As we gather again this Sunday in our online worship we come to Ascension Sunday and a great passage to prepare us for Pentecost and the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit later in the month. The first song is simply How Great is our God. The first link is a version that is called ‘world edition’ and has the song sung in a few different languages. It’s a great opportunity to remember that we sing about the risen Christ not just as Trendlewood, but as God’s people worldwide, across the earth. Although this is a difficult time for the whole world, the church is still one. You might want to use this version as a chance to pray for our church around the world.
We also learn today about the Holy Spirit and so our next song is a beautiful modern hymn by the Gettys Holy Spirit Living breath of God. The lyrics are simply stunning and as you follow the words below, let the song become your own prayer. The lyric video is also so moving, (the words do come in at the minute mark).
Holy Spirit, living breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Let the presence of the risen Lord,
Come renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see,
Give me passion for Your purity;
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.
Holy Spirit, come abide within,
May Your joy be seen in all I do.
Love enough to cover every sin,
In each thought and deed and attitude.
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my strivings into works of grace;
Breath of God show Christ in all I do.
Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show Your power once again on earth,
Cause Your church to hunger for your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise;
Lead us on the road of sacrifice,
That in unity the face of Christ
May be clear for all the world to see.
Our Last song is a song that speaks of a simple cry for the ‘Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come fill this place.’ That is our prayer for this time, that would be filled with the Holy Spirit along with our homes.
Prayers from Ian & Helen
As we come to pray I wonder how many of us have found it easy to pray more, and keep praying more in this extraordinary time of enforced isolation?
I’ve found it easy to pray more, the need is so great, but I’m impatient with God to answer my prayers – for the nation, for the world – for his name to be glorified – the church to grow – the virus to be defeated – all those who are doing such a fantastic front line job …. and much more.
I’m waiting. And I’m asking, ‘When, Lord please. Come on please, after all I’ve been praying for nearly 10 weeks!’
But I’ve been challenged to be persistent and reminded that Samuel prayed 20 years for freedom from the Philistines for the Israelites. Then, [and only then] the people turned back to the Lord.
So we take courage from that – asking for forgiveness for our impatience [and rudeness to God].
In the spirit of listening for him to speak to us, of being still before him and asking him to give us vision, of waiting patiently for him to act, may we invite you to pray?
For the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us God’s vision for what the new normal might look like?
[….a world where care for the poor and marginalised might be higher on the agenda than before
…..where care for the environment might be a prime concern and a practical reality
…..for the care in the community to continuing flourishing and enriching relationships
…..where the word of God reaches and touches millions who don’t know him now, who may
already be seeking, wondering what’s the point of life
…..and more …… ]
For the Holy Spirit to equip us to play our part in bringing in and living out God’s new normal
And for the days of Thy Kingdom Come ….. ending on Pentecost Sunday next week
Naming those in our hearts for whom we long a new relationship with the Lord
Perhaps pray for them now, but how about as we give thanks for each meal as well?
May Almighty God enlighten the eyes of your heart to see that his blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above the heavens that he might fill all things through the promised Holy Spirit. May he fill your days with his love, joy and peace. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.
Children’s Activities from Ruth
Hello everyone hope you have had a good week and found new ways to have fun.
As we continue the series about the nature of God, this week we explore how God is our friend.
This may be tricky for the children to comprehend at the moment as usually they talk about all the things they do with their friends. Encourage them to talk about all the ways they have been keeping in touch with their friends and the things they have done.
Please share with us all the ways they have continued with their friends. My Granddaughter has a walkie talkie which she uses to communicate with a friend who lives just a couple of door away.
Activity 1: Game
Everyone stand in a circle. One person has a ball, they then throw to any other person in the circle. If that person catches it, they throw it to another.
If they miss it, they have to go down on one knee until the ball is thrown to them again and they catch it.
On the first miss, you go down on one knee. On the second consecutive miss, you go down on 2 knees. The third consecutive miss, you put one arm behind your back. The fourth consecutive miss, you close your eyes. However, each time you catch a ball you are able to go back a stage – so if you are on one knee and then catch the ball, you stand up again.
The ball must be thrown properly so that it is possible to catch – it shouldn’t be thrown above head height and shouldn’t be thrown deliberately wide or short. For deliberate bad throws, penalise the person by making them go down on one knee (or whatever stage would be next if they’d missed the ball).
The Point: Just for fun. Slightly linked to forgiveness – if you miss the ball, you don’t have to stay on one knee forever.
Activity 2: Story
This is a clip of the story.
Briefly recap that Moses was called by God to do a special job of leading God’s people out of Egypt where they were slaves. Once they got out of Egypt, Moses continued to be the people’s leader as they waited to see where God would take them next.
All the people carried tents with them and they would follow God and set up camp where he told them to. They knew God was there because he was in a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Every time the Israelites (God’s people) set up camp, Moses would put a special tent up outside the camp. This was called the Tent of Meeting. The Tent of Meeting was where Moses would go to talk to God – only Moses and his helper Joshua could go in that tent.
Whenever Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come and hover at the entrance to the tent and Moses would speak to God face to face inside the tent.
One day Moses went into the special tent to talk to God, he was a bit confused. He said to God, ‘You keep telling me to take your people to the Promised Land but I don’t know where that is and I don’t even know who I should take with me. I know that you know me and that you are taking special care of me but please could you tell me what you want me to do more clearly?’
God replied, ‘Don’t worry Moses – I’m going to go with you to the Promised Land: you don’t need to worry about a thing!’
Moses wanted to be really, really sure so he said to God, ‘Please do make sure you go with us. In fact, if you don’t go with us, we’re not going to move an inch from this place – maybe ever!’
God replied, “Don’t get yourself in a state, Moses; I really will go with you. You are my friend and I want to give you special blessings.”
God took Moses up the mountain and spoke to him a bit more there – he gave him the special rules that his people were to obey. We call these rules the Ten Commandments and we still live by them today. When Moses came down from getting these special rules, his face was shining because he had been so close to God and the people were afraid to go near him. After he had finished telling the people what God said, Moses put a veil over his face. He would keep the veil on until the next time he went into the tent to talk to God.
Talk about what difference it made to Moses that God was his friend.
What did God do because he was Moses friend?
Bring out the point that God always went with Moses because he was his friend and also that they talked together.
Ask if they think we can be God’s friends like that. Say that we can! We can talk to God just like Moses did – even though we can’t see him.
And God promises to go with us wherever we go.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pN3eZcT2o this one has actions.
We’ve talked a lot today about how God is our friend, but it’s a two-way street! What kind of things can we do to show God that He is our friend? What sort of things do we do for our friends? Can we do them for God?
Prayer and quiet time:
Find a quiet place for all to sit or lie quietly for a few minutes to listen for a few minutes to hear what He wants to say to us. You might want to play some quiet music or put a cross or candle to focus everyone.
Encourage everyone to quietly ask, “God, what do you want to say to me today?” and then just listen.
Encourage them that they might hear a voice inside their head or see a picture, just get a feeling or even smell or taste something – these are all ways that God speaks.
Ask each person to think of their favourite place and to draw themselves in that place. As you draw, to talk to God quietly, thanking Him that He is their friend, and asking Him to help you to remember that wherever you go, God is with us.
Read in John 21
Shortly after Jesus rose from the dead, Peter began to get restless. “I’m going fishing,” he said.
Six of the other disciples decided to go with him, including John, but they fished all night and didn’t catch anything.
In the morning, they saw a man on the beach. He called out to them, “Friends! Have you caught anything?”
“Nothing at all,” the disciples answered.
“Throw the net over the other side,” called the man on the beach. The disciples did as the man said and immediately they caught a huge number of fish; the net became really heavy!
When someone counted the fish later, there were 153 of them.
John said to Peter, “It’s Jesus!”
Peter looked at the man, realised that it really was Jesus, and jumped straight into the water fully dressed. He struggled up the beach to Jesus. The other disciples followed as quickly as they could, bringing the boat and the fish with them.
Jesus had lit a fire and was cooking fish and bread on it.
“Come and have breakfast,” Jesus invited them, and they sat and had breakfast together – just as they had done before Jesus was killed.
After breakfast, Jesus turned to Peter and asked him, “Simon Peter, do you love me?”
“Yes, Jesus,” Peter answered.
“Teach the people I care for,” Jesus told him.
But Jesus asked the question again, “Do you love me, Simon Peter?”
“Yes, Lord, you know I love you,” Peter answered.
“Look after the people who follow me,” Jesus said.
And then Jesus asked Peter the question again, and when Peter repeated that he loved Jesus, Jesus asked him again to look after the other people who followed Him.
“It doesn’t matter what other people do for me, I want you to do what I tell YOU to do,” Jesus told Peter.
· Talk about what this story shows us about Jesus’ friendship – how was Jesus a good friend to the disciples?
· Why did Jesus ask Peter how much he loved him? What responsibility did Jesus give Peter?
· Explain that when we are friends with Jesus we have a responsibility to reach out to other people as well: to other Christians, as we share God’s love for us, and to people who don’t know about Jesus so that they can learn about him.
· Being God’s friend isn’t supposed to be a selfish thing!