24th May 2020
“Lord the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments.” Nehemiah 1:5
Today, Thursday 21st May, it is Ascension Day. After Jesus had been raised from the dead he appeared many times to his followers in his bodily resurrection, but after 40 days he ascended into heaven. You can read about all of this in Acts 1:1-11.
Although, Ascension Day, is a bit of a forgotten celebration it reminds us of an important step in the ministry of Christ. The Resurrected Jesus did not just disappear he went somewhere and the where is important. He went to sit at God's right hand. In other words he went in his full sinless and resurrected humanity to take up his place to rule the universe.
So, when we pray, we are not talking to someone who is remote and does not understand our situation. Jesus lived among us as one of us. He knows, understands and empathises with the struggles of our lives. Indeed, he lived in a time when disease was an even greater threat!
Yet, at the same time we are not talking to someone who is powerless to help, but to the one who is in the most powerful position in the universe. These two facts together should be a big encouragement to our prayer and that is what the Thy Kingdom Come initiative is all about!
This week's email includes:
- Join in this Sunday - videos to contribute...
- Last Sunday - links to last week's sermon
- Weekly Focus: Thy Kingdom Come - Update!
- Prayer Requests
- Notices in Brief: Questionnaire reminder, Contributions for Pentecost Sunday (31st May), ACTS schools work, Zoom after the service
- Links of the Week: Obituary: Ravi Zacharias, Inspire: Short videos for young people, Royal Harbour Church
Join in this Sunday: As the Sunday after Ascension Day we will have an Ascension Day response for our Opener this Sunday. These Openers really help to set the tone for the service, especially when we have a good number of people joining in. The phrase to record yourself saying this week is:
"He reigns forever. Amen!"
Please send videos by email, wetransfer.com or Whatsapp (07769 871520).
Don't forget to join us on YouTube this Sunday (the video should be available from 6am on Sunday).
Last Sunday: If you missed Last Sunday's talk, True Judgement (Matthew 7:1-6), then you can listen or watch here .
Weekly Focus: Thy Kingdom Come - Update!
As mentioned in last week's email, these next 11 days are being set apart for the Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative. Check last week's email for national resources.
One of the main aims of these days is to pray for five people to come to faith in Christ. Have you chosen five friends or family to pray for yet?
On St. Luke's website is now a page with Bible readings, a hymn and some pointers for prayer for each day that is relevant to our church and local situation. Check out the Thy Kingdom Come page here. The prayer topics are:
- Thursday 21st - Online Services
- Friday 22nd - Families and Children
- Saturday 23rd - Evangelism
- Sunday 24th - Spiritual Growth
- Monday 25th - Older People
- Tuesday 26th - Food Bank
- Wednesday 27th - Workers
- Thursday 28th - Money
- Friday 29th - Youth
- Saturday 30th - Buildings
- Sunday 31st - World Mission
You can either use these as prompters and guides for your own prayers or join us at the lunchtime Zoom prayer meeting, where we will be praying through this topic. Just click the button below to join at 12:30pm.
You may also be interested in some of the resources and prayer responses produced by the Diocese including the Novena booklets that we normally have. You can access these here.
Be assured I will do my best to check that people are happy for the requests to be shared before including them.
- For Nathan Court, please keep on praying as he receives treatment.
- For Joy Smithers, who has moved again to a hospital in Deal!
- For Gordon Warren. He thanks everyone for their prayers. He is now due to start Chemotherapy at QEQM today.
- For Mitch Styles that he will be relieved from his severe anxiety.
- For Shirley Crabb who is in a lot of pain, because of the delayed operation on her hip.
- Give thanks that Audrey's sister, Evelyn is now home from hospital, but pray that she will have the care she needs. Please pray as well for Keith her cousin who is supporting her.
- For those who have lost loved ones as a result of the Pandemic.
- For all NHS staff, paramedics and care home workers. For safety, resilience and strength as they are called on to work harder in these emotionally draining circumstances.
- For those feeling lonely, missing the usual visits of family and friends.
- For those struggling with mental health, especially in the present circumstances.
- For business, school and other leaders as they prepare and make plans for the future transition out of lockdown.
- Pray for wisdom for the government as they continue to work to provide the necessary equipment and tests and make the best plans for us to come out of lockdown.
A prayer for Ascension Day:
you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:
help us to seek and serve you,
that we may join you at the Father's side,
where you reign with the Spirit in glory,
now and for ever.
Questionnaire on Church in Lockdown. Many thanks if you have already completed the questionnaire about St. Luke's in lockdown. We've had 28 responses so far! This is a big help in enabling us to improve what we are doing and plan for the coming transition out of lockdown.
We are asking one person from each household to complete it. The more responses we have the more useful the results will be. So if you haven't done so yet, then please do so in the next couple of days.
Pentecost Sunday (31st May). It would be great to make Pentecost Sunday a particularly special Online Service. So, we would welcome:
- Drawings of either the Holy Spirit as a dove or as the flames coming down on the church on Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:3).
- Short video clips of people sharing how God has been working in their lives during this time of Lockdown. Perhaps an answer to prayer or a Bible verse that has particularly helped you?
Please send videos or pictures by email, wetransfer.com or Whatsapp (07769 871520) by next Friday.
Active Christianity in Thanet Schools (ACTS) is still at work virtually. They are seeking to share the good news of Christ with school children around Thanet. If you want to read an update from Maggie Paddison, then you can do so here.
Zoom after the service: Last week there were some technical problems with Zoom, but this was a nation wide blip! Hopefully, normal service will be available this Sunday morning at 11:30am. Just click the button below to join us:
Royal Harbour Church
This week our preacher is Gordon Warren, who has been producing services for the Royal Harbour Church during Lockdown. If you want to hear more talks from him or find out more about the Royal Harbour Church then follow this link.
Obituary: Ravi Zacharias (1946-2020)
It may seem strange to share an obituary, but Ravi Zacharias was a well known apologist for the Christian faith who sadly passed away this week. It's well worth hearing about how God has worked through and used his life.
Scripture Union - Inspire
Scripture Union are producing regular videos to encourage young people with their Christian walk. The videos are short and snappy with a Christian message and are available on YouTube.
Check out this recent example:
Don't forget to join us on YouTube this Sunday (Video should be available from 6am on Sunday).
Yours in Christ,