31st May 2020

Granny’s Lake

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14 (NRSV)

Years ago, a young woman married into a family who owned farmland. The land was on a small mountain full of fruit trees and open fields. A perfect place to raise a family. But this land also had a secret. Previously they had sold the mineral rights and when bauxite, a valuable rock used to make aluminium, was discovered, the miners came calling. After they emptied the land a deep crater was left, an eyesore that couldn’t be hidden.

But then an underground stream slowly began to fill the empty crater with fresh water. The young woman raised her family while watching the crater transform into a beautiful lake. The family stocked the lake with fish and grew flowering trees on its banks.

Sometime later a local church needed a place to hold baptisms. So, the family dug out a small section to the lake to serve as a baptismal pool. To this day, countless people have been baptised in those waters. This unlikely reservoir of redemption, called ‘Granny’s Lake,’ was named after the young woman who told the story to her grandchildren.

As a metaphor, Granny’s Lake reflects a deeper truth for all of us. Jesus is the stream of living water that fills the deep pits dug out in our souls. It doesn’t matter how many buried secrets you may have or if those secrets have been exploited. Jesus gets to the bottom of our deepest craters to fill us and transform us from the inside out.

Jesus said something similar to another young woman whose personal life had emptied her of public value (see above). If you have grown weary and thirsty from trying to fill the empty craters in your own life, allow Jesus to give you that same living water that leaves you transformed and satisfied. Then dive in and let him work in your life as an overflow of refreshment for others.

Prayer
Holy Father, we are all broken before you. Thank you for your transforming power to heal us and make us your very children. The ugly has become the beautiful in your sight. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Presented by Jeff Broadnax
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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/ ), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Jeff Broadnax is a GCI Elder in Grace Communion International in the USA and serves as National Coordinator of GCI Generation Ministries.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

30th May 2020

Pentecost

“Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Act 2:1-4 (NKJV)

The word Pentecost is not found in the Old Testament. It was after Israel was delivered from Egypt, that God gave them a liturgy of worship and instruction to follow His ways. Thus the Feast of Harvest of the firstfruits was observed by Israel as recorded in Exodus 23:16. This festival was often referred to as the Feast of Weeks because it fell seven weeks or fifty days from a set day during the spring festivals (Leviticus 23). And it is from this instruction that we have the word Pentecost, which is a Greek word meaning to count fifty.

In the New Testament, the new Christian Church was founded on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out as prophesied by Joel. There is not much mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, although we know that King David prayed that God would not take the Holy Spirit from him, so we know that God was working in and through some of the leaders like Moses and Elijah. However it would seem that most of Israel did not understand the implication and the application of this celebration that came to be known as the Christian Festival of Pentecost, which celebrated not only the coming of the Holy Spirit but the birth of the Christian Church.

We see the power of the Holy Spirit evidenced in the lives of the Apostles. Peter, who cursed the Lord and denied Him three times on the night He was taken by the enemies; was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and he preached Jesus, and Him crucified and His resurrection from the grave, with such conviction and authority and power that on the same Day 3000 souls were added to the Body of Christ. It was a most spectacular event in the history of the Church of Christ.

Today, that same Holy Spirit is given to those who accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, which we show by our baptism, which is a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are raised to new life in Christ (Romans 6:4). We find in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And as human parents bestow good things upon their children, our Father in Heaven wants to bless His children with His Spirit. Luke11:13 says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The Old Testament Festival celebrated the physical harvest, while the Christian celebration of Pentecost pictures the spiritual harvest. The Holy Spirit has brought spiritual revivals and through powerful preaching of the gospel many souls have been reaped—people have come to the Lord. My prayer is that God will stir up the hearts of the ministers and members alike to reach out to the world with this hope of new life in the Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth (John 16:13), renew our minds daily to help us walk in the Spirit (Romans 12:2).

Prayer
Father God, we thank You for the day of Pentecost. Help us to appreciate the gift of the Holy Spirit who reveals the deep things of God to us. I pray and praise You in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti
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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

29th May 2020

Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
Acts 2:1 (NKJV)

The Church is the representative body of Christ on Earth and “We are living in literally extraordinary times – times that will permanently shape us, our families and our nations.”* As saints, we are called, empowered and sent by God into a world in need. God’s Church includes a rich diversity of ethnicity, gender, language and talents that spans history and the globe. This noble and inclusive body is united by the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and the ongoing work of and revelation through the Spirit. The Day of Pentecost is a day to remember and celebrate God’s generous gift to and through the Church to the whole world.

The words of Jesus fill our hearts and minds as we look to model his work of equity: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV).

The Church through the unifying Spirit of God continues the work of Christ for equity to resist the intersectional evils of classism, racism and sexism. We are issued with gifts to aid us in our mission “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthian 12:11 ESV). Like the early Church and throughout the ages, we are brought together, motivated and inspired by the Spirit to speak against evil while actively and positively demonstrating the love of God.

As we gather to celebrate Pentecost together in the Spirit, but in our remote and diverse contexts, may the Holy Spirit continue to reveal the glory of God. As an elegant tapestry of people from every nation, with many languages and from every socio-economic background, we showcase the fact that we are all included in God’s love. As light and salt in the world may we illuminate the equity of God and invite others to taste his goodness.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1 ESV). That one place which transcends our current circumstances is that we are in Christ. Therefore, we are infused with the fruit of joy, confident and can celebrate. Truly we are safe and secure in him surrounded by goodness and mercy.

Prayer
Loving Father, thank you for the celebration of Pentecost that reminds us of your generosity and extravagant love. Help us to continually share our gifts with words and deeds that glorify you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by David Gibbs

*Rachel Jones, 5 Things to Pray in a Global Crisis, page 7
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About the Author:
David Gibbs in an Elder and Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Northern England, the Midlands and Wales.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

28th May 2020

Clap for the NHS

“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12 (NKJV)

The verse above shows a time when Christ will rule on earth from Jerusalem where anyone who thirsts can come and drink of living waters. It will be a time of such joy that even the trees will clap their hands. Today, however, we have an enemy in the coronavirus. We cannot see this enemy and yet somehow it is gradually circumventing the globe and is killing as it goes. The coronavirus has been identified as starting in a wet market in Wuhan in China where scientists found the gene sequencing to be a 96% match with that of a bat. It is believed that somehow the virus had jumped species and is now affecting mankind.

Scientists are not sure whether viruses are actually living organisms. They can replicate themselves inside living organisms like the human cell and do so by entering the human cell through a protein which our cells have on their surfaces. Once inside the cell the virus can trick the human cell into producing DNA for the virus. If the cell is outside your body the most effective way to kill the virus is by the use of soap. If the virus is inside your body then it is up to your body’s immune system to tackle it and kill it but not everybody’s immune system is up to the mark, which is why a vaccine is so urgently required. Yet it can take up to 10 years to ensure that a vaccine will work effectively. Meanwhile doctors and front line staff are fighting a daily battle against the virus with some doctors and nurses working 12 hour shifts constantly in contact with the virus.

A few weeks ago I saw a council street-cleaning lorry reverse up my street late one evening and park at the top of the street. I couldn’t understand what it was doing there until at 8:00pm it sounded its horn so loudly it could be heard over the entire estate. It was a Thursday evening and of course it was signalling for everybody to come out of their houses and start clapping their hands and banging saucepan lids together to show their appreciation for the NHS staff and key workers. What a wonderful way to unite and bring people together to express our thanks and gratitude to those who are serving and working together despite the dangers.

One day this war against the coronavirus will be over and hopefully one day soon Christ will establish a new heavens and a new earth where there will be no more pain and no more suffering. As we’ve seen from the title scripture, even the trees of the field will clap their hands at this momentous occasion. Maybe we can join in with the clapping and maybe we won’t need saucepan lids.

Prayer
Father, we know this coronavirus is a deadly disease and we know it is killing many people worldwide. We may not understand how or why these things happen but we do know we can put our trust in You. We know, Father, there is a better world to come when all man’s efforts will be one united world under God.
Amen

Study by Richard White
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About the Author:
Richard White attends Nottingham Grace Communion.

Local Congregation:
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane
Beeston
NOTTINGHAM
NG9 5HZ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Congregational Contact:
Richard White
Email: nottingham@gracecom.church

27th May 2020

Judean Dates

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

Have you heard about the Judean date palm seeds that were found in Masada? They were discovered in a pottery jar during an excavation and were dated to between 155 BC and 64 AD. This type of palm was valued for shelter and food, and its likeness was even engraved on coins. Unfortunately it became extinct around 800 years ago.

The seeds sat in a professor’s drawer doing nothing for years, until Elaine Soloway, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel decided to see if she could grow them. So she took them and soaked them in water, gave them fertilizer and planted three of the seeds. Only one germinated and is now over 9ft tall—a male date palm which flowers and produces pollen; it is affectionately called Methuselah. The pollen has been used to pollinate a modern female date tree and has produced fruit. Elaine is now trying to work out how to make an ancient date grove from other seeds she has also grown from other archaeological sites in Israel.

As we approach Pentecost, the seeds of the church were planted in the original disciples by the work of the Holy Spirit in them. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven after the Resurrection, he told the Disciples, “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” (Acts 1:8). The apostles spread the seeds of the gospel far and wide, in various places along the way as they went out to all the world. Those seeds that they planted took root and the church was built up over time with the gospel spreading in many and various ways.

Those same seeds used to declare the gospel nearly 2 millennia ago, are the same seeds we use today. They still take root and they still grow. Some grow straight away and some take time. Salvation in Jesus is the gospel message the apostles preached—He is the message of salvation we preach today, and He is the message we will be preaching tomorrow. That enduring gospel message is the same as it ever was: the seeds of 2000 years ago still grow and bring forth fruit.

Prayer
Father, thank you that the gospel message, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, is enduring and always productive. Help us as we go on our way, to plant those seeds wherever we have opportunity.
Amen

Study by Rosemary Gent

*https://timeline.com/methuselah-judean-date-palm-b3782ff1d731
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About the Author:
Rosemary Gent attends Nottingham Grace Communion.

Local Congregation:
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane
Beeston
NOTTINGHAM
NG9 5HZ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Richard White
Email: nottingham@gracecom.church

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