Dear church family,
What connects Exodus 23:16, Malachi 3:10 and Acts 2:4 - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost?
And what does it have to do with us?…
This Sunday, as part of our worship to God, in thankfulness for all he is doing among us and in anticipation of all that lies ahead, we are having a special gift day where we are bringing together a financial offering. The heart behind this is a heart of worship but the practical outworking will be this will enable us to build a mezzanine at the back of our worship space, making room for God's growing family at WBC, and we hope to pay down a substantial amount of the loan we have with the Baptist Union on one of the manses we own (the houses lived in by the Pastors), releasing more resources for mission and ministry and preparing us for what lies ahead.
So what about the Bible passages… well in Exodus God instructs his people to worship Him with the first fruits of their crops and to gather them together at the festival of harvest, later called Pentecost.
"Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field."
Exodus 23:16a, NIV
This was also the festival when God's people celebrated the giving of the law. People would have joyfully come and brought together their offerings as an act of worship to God.
In Malachi's day, he had to issue a prophetic warning to the people who had neglected the festivals and neglected to honour and worship God with their offerings. This was an outward reflection of the spiritual state of God's people in Malachi's day. However, in the midst of this warning was the promise of Malachi 3:10 -
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."
Malachi 3:10 NIV
This promise needs to be treated with care - it should not be used to manipulate people into giving as it has been by some less scrupulous leaders. It also should not encourage an attitude of giving in order to receive (which is really thinly veiled greed). We give because we love God and that is often sacrificial, as it should be. However, the old adage that you cannot out-give God rings true. This verse is a sign of the abundant generosity of God who the moment his people turn back to him, desires to bless them. The God who provided it all in the first place loves to bless his people as they worship Him.
But what of the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 then? Well, on the day of Pentecost we read they were all together in one place. Where? Well, I would want to suggest not in the upper room as many think (that's where they were in Acts 1 and the text does not seem to imply they were still there as many think) Where would they all of been on the day of Pentecost? In the temple of course. Where would others have seen these spirit-filled believers and heard them speaking their own languages - people from many nations? In the temple as they came to bring their offerings. Where would 3000 people have been able to listen to Peter share the gospel and then be baptised? In the temple courts and just outside where there would have been multiple ritual cleansing pools.
And I like to think that Acts 2:4 and the events that follow as God pours out his spirit on 3000 people who are saved, is an even greater fulfilment of Malachi 3:10. As people bring in their offerings on the day of Pentecost, God breaks in and does something new by the power of His Holy Spirit and pours out so much blessing they cannot contain it - a blessing that overflows to the nations.
As we bring together our offerings on this gift day, it is about so much more than a mezzanine and a loan, it is an act of worship that brings glory to God and I pray that as we give to Him with the right heart, we will experience an even greater outpouring of the Spirit of God on our church family that will overflow and bless our whole community and even the nations.
With much love,
GIVING SUNDAY - HOW TO GET INVOLVED More details will be given on Sunday about how to give. You will have the opportunity to give via bank transfer, online, card machine or using the giving envelopes provided. For anyone who is a UK taxpayer, please be aware that there will be Gift Aid forms available. www.willesboroughbaptist.church/give
SUNDAY GATHERING 10:30AM Join us for Giving Sunday with Katie speaking on 'Radical Generosity'. For those who are unable to attend in person please join us on YouTube: https://youtu.be/WlKibvBjJ1g
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT THE WELL. As many of you know as a church we feel called to love and serve our community - one of the frontline ways we do this is through The Well. Are you available on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday mornings? We are looking for adult volunteers to help with this vital ministry. Contact email@example.com if you would like to find out more.
Please note if you are visiting The Well it will be closing early at 11am due to coffee machine maintenance on the 23rd/26th & 28th Sept.
Re-Awakening Prayer at Brabourne Join us in prayer on Thur 28th September at Brabourne Baptist Church from 7-8pm.
Givaudan 10K Training Run For those thinking of running in the Givaudan 10K road race on 8th October (or if you would like to run with others), Rachel invites you to join her for some training runs starting from the church car park on Thursdays at 6:30pm. Contact Rachel for more details on 07754 032449.
If you would like to take part as a runner, the run is open to all abilities; details are: https://www.sportingeventsuk.com/enter-an-event/givaudan-ashford-10k
Givaudan 10K Road Race
Sunday 8th October 2023
The route for this run starts at the Julie Rose stadium and comes directly past church. Last year we set up an extra support 'Hype' station. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to be out there with our community supporting a local event. We provided water, sweets, music and most importantly, supporting the runners as they came up the hill with lots of encouragement! We had so many appreciative comments from runners last year and we will be supporting them again this year. More details to follow...
NEW Love Willesborough Knitting & Crochet | Wednesdays | Main worship space | 7-8:30pm
Re-awakening Prayer | 28th September | Brabourne Baptist Church | 7-8pm
The 'Real' Meal | 2nd October | Woolpack pub (Smeeth/Brabourne) | 7pm
Lead Theology Course | 7th October | 9:30am-3:30pm
Givaudan 10K Road Race | 8th October
Sparks & Firestarters | Sunday mornings | In the church hall | 0-3 & 4-10 year olds
Blaze | Sunday mornings upstairs in the well | years 6-8
Ignite | Friday | 7-9pm | Main worship space | years 7-13
Furnace | Mondays | 7-9pm | Katie's manse | years 9-13
The Well | Open Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays | 9-12 (Closes 11amthis week)
Renew Wellbeing | Tuesdays in The Well | 2-4pm
Prayer | Before our Sunday service | front of church | 9:45am
Early Morning Prayers | Thursday mornings | 6:30am | Join here: www.willesboroughbaptist.church/prayer