Spring Harvest at Home - A Commentary

A number of us in both St Paul's and St Nicholas' churches are participating in the online event which is being provided in replacement for Spring Harvest which many of us were going to attend at Butlins in Skegness. This is free for everyone to view on YouTube, and I thought it might be helpful to provide a little bit of commentary on some of the many videos others may like to watch. If you aren't familiar with YouTube, I have included the links to the videos, so you just need to click them. I hope it will be of some help. Why not give it a go?

The first big event is the Monday evening worship time, which you might like to view, but I would in any case strongly recommend the address given by Jill Diff, Bishop of Lancaster based around Acts 2:1-21. Bishop Jill speaks with quiet authority about the Holy Spirit unleashing and empowering all of us, faith and courage in the face of adversity, and the power of prayer. You can watch the BSL signed talk alone here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha6tmefcLJI

The full worship session is also available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLcQ_Q1Nnlw

On Tuesday morning There were two teaching sessions:

The first session was given by Gavin and Anne Calver, entitled 'Unleashed Power and People' based on the Spring Harvest 2020 teaching book. Based around Acts 4:32-37 and Acts 2:42-47, they talk about community and relationship especially in this time of self-isolation, when some of us feel may powerless, but also a situation where we become more aware of and in contact with our near neighbours. They suggest we need to question what we have felt to be important and look to the future when this episode is over; what will church look like and how will our behaviour change? Another stimulating and challenging talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdyOckaJejg

The second session was given by Malcolm Duncan, bible teaching on Acts. Ok, eyes glazing over? Well, I have heard Malcolm do bible teaching before, and it is never boring, always informative and challenging. Today's talk sets the scene, and ranges widely across the whole of Acts, putting it into perspective, and illustrating the nature and behaviour of the early church, as well as addressing a few misconceptions early on. He then goes on to unpack what the key connection all Christians have to one another and what is important. Just as good as I recall the last time I heard him talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNTs8IlaiBM

The Tuesday evening worship was addressed by Amy Orr-Ewing, a regular contributor to Spring Harvest, who talked about Acts 2:14-36. She talked about the significant number of long speeches in Acts and that they all focussed on the key fact of our faith; the death and resurrection of Jesus, that it matters immensely. She went on the tell us how this changed her father's view and brought him to fath, and how the Holy Spirit can give any of us the confidence to talk about this vital truth. The BSL signed video fo the talk is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSLbu-rMLKs

The entire evening session is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2GozmjRda4

On Wednesday morning the second session with Gavin and Anne Calver centred on Acts:5-39 as the dealt with the unleashed presence of God. In Acts, we see signs and wonders galore, but we are today perhaps guilty of downsizing God and watering down the gospel to make it inoffensive. It should not be comfortable and we need the power of the Spirit to enable us to push us out of our comfort zones and proclaim the gospel truth despite our fears. Intentionality matters in word and works. Challenging stuff! The talk is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vwnaNyq2AE

Also on Wednesday morning Malcolm Duncan gave his second bible study talk on the same 'Unleashed Presence' theme, again going though Acts, he picked out Acts 4:3, Acts 17:6 and Acts 28:30-31 as places where there are the hints of the presence of God, and people who carry the presence of God within them.  This presence of God which flows into them in order to flow out to those around them. He shows us that in John, Jesus clearly states that in order for the Spirit to come he must depart as he did. There is still a need for the Spirit to bo visible though signs and wonders as evidence of God. Powerful as always: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1UCW_vAlic

The Wednesday evening worship session was addressed by Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance, talking about Acts14:1-7. Gavin reminded us that God is with us and wants to use us to pass on the good news and the message of grace. This is a time of turmoil when we need to be praying more and looking to go wider in out mission than ever. We can never know what the results will be of the seeds we sow if we take the risk. Like Paul and Barnabas, can we be bolder and braver? We also need to learn how to be bold and kind, which does not mean agreeing with everything, but being gracious in our approach. We also need a fuller gospel which includes signs and wonders just as the early church. You can watch his address on the BSL track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA_WYCv1uGg

The full worship session is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg68GmEDOI4

On Thursday morning Gavin and Anne Calver focussed on Acts 8:26-40 where Philip talks to the eunuch (incidentally someone who would by law not be allowed into the Jewish religion). in this session they started the theme of 'Unleashed Potential'. Philip was called by God to leave busy work in Samaria to tavel on  a lonely road so he could meet just one man, but that sowed the seeds of the church in north Africa: we can't always appreciate the effects of our actions. They also talked about how there can be different seasons in our work for God, and we should be prepared that God can use any of us; we just need to ask what do you want me to do? If we have been doing th same thing for a long time we also need to be asking Him 'why are we doing this?' Find this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAxsqkTCG3M

The Thursday session with Malcolm Duncan Also dealt with the same section of Acts 8. Malcolm was at pains to point out that God uses ordinary people; we are not determined in our worth, value and potential by anything other than what God does with us. Nothing is above or below us in the power of god, and the potential in each of us is enormous for Him, but there are no superstars except Jesus. Also don't expect universal applause; the early Christians never got it.. Powerful stuff here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYXq_lxy7eE

The Friday Morning session was addressed by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. Taking acts 2:42-47 he pointed out that the early church worked together because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, which energises , transforms and creates church, a levelling, reverent church of fellowship, worship and prayer. Church is something for us as a community not alone and things can happen when we come together as a sharing, joyful, worshipping and miraculous church. We may think we live in adverse conditions, but the early church was situated in such an adverse environment that it should have failed. He left us with the final thought that we should live for tomorrow,because if we don't change now we will sink. You can find his address here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuasVDu9rDI

The full worship session is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Nhu4sFQg8

I hope you find something here to inspire you. all the material will be online until at least the end of April 2020, as well as a host of other interesting teaching sessions. Why not have a look?