Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 20, 2012

Scriptures for May 20th: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53 Theme: the Ascension of Jesus to heaven; Song: Swing Low Sweet Chariot – UMH 703 Acts: This is the beginning of the book of Acts. It is the story of how Jesus appeared to his disciples and the church began to take shape and grow. There were no special techniques in growth, the apostles just told what they saw, and the believers came forward. Perhaps we make things too difficult today. This is a retelling of the original story in Luke. The disciples are standing there watching as Jesus goes up to heaven. But after he is gone, they continue to look up at the sky. Jesus tells them twice and an angel repeats the advice, not to look “up there” for heaven. Heaven us not up there, Heaven is in our hearts. Jesus has not gone anywhere, he chose to live the rest of his life through us and through our hearts. Now that he is not with us, what does that mean? When is he coming back? And what is he doing? Useless questions according the advice we are giving. We just need to go on living, living as if Jesus never left. His presence is with us when we do things in his name. Luke: When Jesus was with them, nothing made sense to them, they could only speculate on what he was trying to help them to understand. But Jesus knew from the beginning that this day was coming. He prepared them for this day. And when he went up to heaven, he did not leave in secret, he left where those with eyes to see could see what was going on. The gift that he gives to each of us is power. But the power to do what? The disciples were still hoping to overthrow the government, and to be leaders. It was at this point that they realize the Jesus kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, not of this world. We have been given spiritual power! If we understand that power and how to use it – we can conquer the world. Not the physical world – but the spiritual world – which sometimes has a much stronger hold on us. Scripture says that Jesus led them to Bethany, blessed them, and ascended to heaven. Leaving them in complete joy and celebration of what they had been given. Finally it all made sense and they had the power to go out into the world and to proclaim the gospel. Questions: How can we get people to believe in the story of Jesus and come and stand with us? What do you think about heaven? Is heaven present with us now, or will it come in the future? How are we witnesses to the acts of Jesus today? What do you do with the power that Jesus gives you? Where do you look when you want to find Jesus? How and when you do feel the presence of Christ in your life?

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