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					Pentecost Sunday – Spending time to buy time

Background notes

This year, we would like to invite you to set aside Sunday June 12th to consider the life, power and
discernment that the Holy Spirit imparts to God’s people. This will be done in the context of prayer for
our Church. As you are aware, this year we will be celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the first
Ordination of Ministers within the Connexion. Although the history of Calvinistic Methodism dates back
to about 1735, it was a movement within the Church of England, until increasing pressure led to this act
of setting apart our own ministers.

You are aware that during the season of Pentecost it is usual for the Church to celebrate it’s birthday,
recounting the amazing events of that day in Jerusalem when Jesus’ promise to his disciples was
fulfilled, and the Spirit was poured from heaven. Our service will trace the origins of Pentecost back to
the Hebrew festival of Shavu’ot, a festival that celebrated God calling a people to himself, their freedom
from Egypt, and their receipt of the Law.

Through the service, it is our prayer that God will give us freedom in prayer, and freedom in our work,
and in all of this, allow us to experience the power and discernment of the Holy Spirit as we minister in
our communities. Our only desire is to exalt Jesus, and in the words of our Short Declaration, ‘glorify
God, and enjoy Him forever’.

If you’re intending on using the PowerPoint presentation, please note the following:

       Occasionally, different versions of ‘PowerPoint’ change the way writing/pictures appear on the
        slide. Therefore, it’s important you open the file on your computer before hand and make sure
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        each slide should look. Editing the presentation is easy, but it will have to be done in plenty of
        time. You will also have to do this if you are using ‘keynote’.

       I include below notes to go with the presentation.

       The numbers on the left refer to the slide number in the presentation, and each time you see this
        symbol, ≥ you need to click on. Remember that you will need to be patient occasionally, because,
        for example, if the next click is for a picture, it sometimes takes a second or two to appear.

       An empty slide appears between each different element of the service – this helps people to
        follow better.

       If there are no children in the service slides 12 – 20 can be omitted. (You could delete these
        before the service)

       The hymns can be changed if you desire.

       For more information, or advice, contact me in the Office.
1       This slide should be on the screen as people arrive

Word of Welcome, with an explanation that the Presbyterian Church of Wales is inviting churches to set
aside time this Pentecost to pray for the Church, it’s congregations, it’s leaders, it’s courts and it’s
ministries.

Our theme this year is, ‘Spending time to save time’. We are busy people, and finding time is difficult.
The Bible teaches that prioritising time for prayer, spending time to seek God, saves us time. Instead of
running around trying to fulfil everything we think should be accomplished, spending time with God
shows us where our time should be spent. We will save time in order to do the work God calls us to do.

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2.      Intrada

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3       Empty slide

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4        The reason there were so many people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost according to Acts 2
was because Jews had gathered from everywhere to celebrate one of the three main holidays –
Shavu’ot – they remembered the 50 day period between the Passover in Egypt and the arrival of the
Israelites at Mount Sinai. Our first reading from the Bible today relates to the first Pentecost

Exodus 19:1-8 (NIV)
1
  On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the
Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped
there in the desert in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him
from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are
to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on
eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

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5
5
 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured
possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” 7 So Moses went back and summoned
the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. 8
The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” So Moses brought their
answer back to the LORD.
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6      Does anybody recognise this mountain? It’s a picture of Mount Sinai. After being released from
the bondage in Egypt, they arrive at the foot of Mount Sinai, exactly 50 days after leaving Egypt.

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Pentecost

Pentecost is the Greek name for a Hebrew Festival

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The Hebrew name for the Festival is Shavu’ot

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The festival marks the giving of the law, 50 days after the Passover in Egypt.
Also, at this time the first-fruits of the harvest were brought to the Temple.

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7        You are probably familiar with the background of this picture. This is what God commanded the
Israelites to do with the blood of a lamb, in order to save themselves from the judgement that was to
come upon Egypt.

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Pentecost

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Shavu’ot

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The link between the Passover in Egypt
the time when the Nation were freed from bondage
with the giving of the Law on Sinai
the time when the people were equipped to live as ‘the People of God’

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Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured
possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’.
                Exodus 19:5-6

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8       Empty slide

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9       Hymn Verse 1+2

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10      Verse 3+4

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11      Empty slide

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12      Children’s Reading

       This reading is familiar. This is the story of God sending the Holy Spirit, as the Prophets and Jesus
had promised. The disciples are together on the Feast of Pentecost, in a room in Jerusalem.

≥
         1
13        When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one
       2
place. Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house
where they were staying. 3Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged
themselves so that one came to rest on each believer. 4All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. 5Devout Jewish men
from every nation were living in Jerusalem. 6They gathered when they heard the wind. Each person was
startled to recognize his own dialect when the disciples spoke. 7Stunned and amazed, the people in the
crowd said, “All of these men who are speaking are Galileans. 8Why do we hear them speaking in our
native dialects?

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14     Everyone is familiar with some of these cards. What sort of cards are these? What do we use
them for?

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        Most shops take some sort of card as payment for food, clothes, toys, petrol etc.
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15     We don’t use cash very often these days, but we know what these are.

≥        Before we get anything we have to spend. Remember, before spending, you have to have
money. How do we get money? Perhaps you have pocket money for nothing. Birthday money.
Christmas money. Money for helping. Adults usually have to work for their money – their wage. There’s
a verse in the Bible that says there’s something that can be bought without money!

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The Lord says, Come, everyone who is thirsty here is water! Come, you that have no money buy grain
and eat! Come! Buy wine and milk it will cost you nothing.             Isaiah 55: verse 1

         What does the Bible say we can buy without money? Well, in this verse, thirsty people are
invited to come to God, they’ve got nothing to offer God, but God offers them something for nothing.
It’s not what we can do, that gives us the right to come to God, but what Jesus has done for us. We can
come to God without anything, for free!! through prayer. We only have to believe that Jesus has opened
the way, and done everything on our behalf.

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16     If we can pray to God, what should we ask for?

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        Or, in other words, what do we want to ‘buy’ from Him. Today lots of people in churches up and
down Wales are asking God to help church leaders and members, and to show them the way ahead. We
can ask God to help the people that are important to us, to help those who teach us about Jesus, and to
help us to live for Jesus every day. God always listens to our prayers, and as we pray God says we can
know his care and his love, and more than all these things, we can come to know Jesus his Son. God
does amazing things when we pray. Look at this verse.

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17     The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.     James 5: verse 16

       Let’s learn the verse to remind ourselves that every time we pray, that spending time in prayer
is powerful and effective.

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18     Empty slide

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19     Hymn
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20      Empty slide

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21      Reading          Ephesians 1:13-21
13
  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your
salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a
deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the
praise of his glory. 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love
for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

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        17
22         I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit
of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be
enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious
inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the
same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his
right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every
name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

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23      Text

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know ….. his incomparably
great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he
raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
                                                                         Ephesians 1: 18, 19 - 20

Before we pray for our Church, we will consider some things which are true of the work of the Holy
Spirit in the life of the Christian, and in the life of the Church. In these verses from Ephesians 1, Paul tells
the Christians that God wants to give the the Holy Spirit, the power and the strength that is available for
us. Just think, this is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If the Holy Spirit is powerful
enough to raise Jesus from the dead, is anything impossible for Him to do today?

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Praying at Pentecost – spending to buy

As we discussed with the children, our theme today is ‘spending time to buy time’. Church life can be
terribly busy, and we can spend our time doing all sorts of things, but the time spent by individuals and
churches with God is often infrequent and short. Every thing else seems easier, but nothing else can
redeem time and realise the blessings God has for us. Andrew Murray, a distinguished man of God once
said:



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Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its
success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as
God's messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.
                                                  Andrew Murray

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24      Text

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Praying at Pentecost – spending to buy

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We will look at three things which show that spending time with God benefits us

Firstly, in prayer we discover life

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Secondly, through prayer we discover power

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Thirdly, through prayer we discover God’s will for us.

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25      Text

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Discovering life in prayer – life which has been bought for us

The chief work of the Holy Spirit is to bring people to experience the new life that is in Jesus. This life has
been bought for us, it’s not something which we can buy by our own works, or faithfulness or effort.
Jesus’ effort has accomplished everything. This is how John describes the truth.

≥
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might
live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an
atoning sacrifice for our sins.                                     1 John 4:9-10

If it is Jesus’ work that gives life, a life which he has bought for us, how do we take possession of this
life?

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26      Text and heading

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Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.                                     Jeremiah 29: 12-13

Jeremiah’s words encourage us. Life, and knowing God comes as we call, as we pray; when we seek, we
find as we seek with all our hearts.

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27      Text and heading

Discovering power through prayer - the power which yields understanding and knowledge

Secondly, the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer reveals the power of God to us. This power deals mainly
with our inability to understand and know Jesus and his work. This is the power that brings us to the
place where we see clearly that, not only do we have life, but that this is the life of a child of God.

≥

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are
heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, ....                                    Romans 8: 16 - 17

Not only are we children, but as the children of the king, we are heirs. As with the children of all kings,
it’s not something we gain by effort or by virtue, but by birth. The Holy Spirit reveals this to us, and to
know the power of this truth in our lives.

≥

28      Text and Heading

Discovering power through prayer - the power that makes the impossible possible

As we can see from our text, this power is unconquerable, it makes the impossible possible. But this is
also true in our personal lives and with respect o our personal needs.

≥
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and
Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen         Phillipians 4: 19 - 20

As we bring our personal needs and the needs of the Church before God today, we bring them in the
confidence of this verse. We can plead the promise of God for us, plead with the permission that the
Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has bought for us. So we claim God’s promises.

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29      Text and heading

Thirdly and lastly today, the Holy Spirit gives Christians and the Church that ability to understand and
discern God’s will on our behalf. Spending time in prayer is an exceptional way of buying time or
redeeming time, because, by seeking God and his will, we can avoid wasting time on our own plans and
priorities. Solomon puts it like this:

≥

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to
him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.               Proverbs 3: 5 – 8

One thing that will save considerable time as you travel is knowing your destination and how to get
there! Spending time in prayer enables us to discover where we should be going and how we get there.
And so – we buy time or redeem time.

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30      Text and heading

Discovering God’s will through prayer - from Passover to Pentecost; from Easter to Pentecost – new life
for a new people

As we close, let’s return to that first Pentecost, which was a shadow of the second. In the Old Testament
the Pentecost signified the end of the period between the Passover, where the people were freed from
bondage, to that time when they became fully the people of God, a people living in obedience. We have
been freed from slavery by the blood of the Lamb of God, our Passover lamb. Pentecost, and the giving
of the Holy Spirit, makes us a new people, the Church. Through this, we know life, we know power and
we can know God’s will for us as individuals and as a Church. We can know how to be His people.

≥

It is Easter that ensures freedom, and Pentecost that ensures a people, people that know life, know
power, and know the will of God. As Israel celebrated the harvest at Pentecost, so, we as the Church
celebrate the harvest that comes from faithfulness to His commission.
Another aspect of Pentecost in the Old Testament was that it was a celebration of harvest. The people
brought the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple to offer to God. Jesus’ last commandment before his
ascension was to make disciples, a harvest of people, which we know as the Great Commission. As we
pray for the Church this Pentecost, we pray for the life, power and discernment of the Holy Spirit, and
pray for a gospel harvest in our communities, in our country and our world.

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31      Empty slide

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32      Hymn Verse 1

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33      Verse 2

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34      Verse 3

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35      Empty slide

We will now pray together. We pray for the congregations, the leaders, the courts and the ministries of
the Presbyterian Church of Wales.

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36      Picture

We pray especially for the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Reverend Ian Hodgins, for his family,
for his pastorate in Gower, and for his work in presiding, directing and pastoring during his year leading
the Connexion.

We pray also for our General Secretary and his family, his day to day work, his care of those in
leadership, in ministry, and the day to day decisions he has to make. We also pray that he would discern
God’s will concerning the direction the Church should travel during this time.

≥

37      Here is a list of those receiving a stipend or who are employed by the Connexion. You will know
many of them, but today we will just spend a minute reading their names, and as we do so, lift them up
before God’s throne of grace.

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48       Prayer Points

Our congregations

Our leaders

Our courts

Our ministries

Pray that our Church would spend time to buy time, by

     •   discovering life in prayer

     •   discovering power through prayer

     •   discovering God’s will through prayer

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39       Empty slide

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40       Hymn Verse 1

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41       Verse 2

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42       Verse 3

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43       Empty slide

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44       Slide to be shown as the congregation leaves

				
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