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Introduction to Acts Sermon Series 

Over ten years ago, when we were living in the West Midlands and training for ministry, the nearest Baptist church to us proclaimed the following vision statement on their website: ‘Writing the 29th Chapter of Acts!’ The appeal of such a statement is understandable. It’s impossible not to feel stirred and excited when we read of the powerful way God worked through the first disciples of Jesus. There are stories here of healings in the name of Jesus, miraculous escapes from prison and many occasions when conversion and then baptism is the immediate response of those who hear the gospel message proclaimed. How we wish that we could see God work in the same way among us!

Acts begins with the 12 disciples looking into the sky, gazing at the clouds which have just hidden Jesus from their sight. However, the story soon moves on to the day of Pentecost and the remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who empowers the courageous witness of the miracle-working, boundary-breaking church. It’s no surprise that many have suggested this book ought to be called the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’ in recognition of the source of the church’s life. One of the most striking aspects of the book is how the Spirit clearly supplies a boldness and energy for mission which lies behind the rapid growth of the church.

It is important to note, however, that there are growing pains experienced by this community of Jesus’ followers. The arrival of new believers from a Gentile background is the cause of dissension and soon creates quandaries for the church’s leaders. How should structures change to ensure the fair distribution of food between those from a Jewish and Gentile background? What food should Gentile converts be allowed to eat? Behind each of these individual questions, a bigger and more important one looms: will the church choose to keep growing and taking risks or will limits be set on the new thing God is doing?

The American writer Rob Bell has described Acts as ‘the story of a thousand little everyday decisions these early Christians made to free the message from its cultural and religious trappings so that it would truly be good news for all who encountered it’ (Rob Bell, Jesus wants to save Christians, 2008, Zondervan, p.107). Later he comments, ‘Acts is the story of movement, motion, progress. It’s people Selsdon Baptist Church INSight MAY 2021 17 being caught up in something that simply must expand, and stretch, and go. Because no one city, no one religion, no one perspective, no one worldview can contain it’ (pp.112–113).

This is the story we’ll reflect on from, Pentecost Sunday in May through to August, as we continue to consider what it means to be a church which worships, welcomes and blesses. As we see how these practices were lived out in the joys but also the complications of life in the early church, I pray we will be inspired to consider what it means for us to stretch, expand and go, in Selsdon, in 2021. 

Date Value Text Title
23 May Worship Acts 2:1–21                                  Pentecost
30 May Worship Acts 2:42–47 The Fellowship of the Believers 
6 June Worship Acts 4:32–37 The Believers Share their Possessions
13 June Blessing Acts 5:12–16 The Apostles Heal Many
20 June Welcome     Acts 6:1–7  The Choosing of the Seven
27 June Blessing         Acts 8:4–25  Philip in Samaria, and his encounter with Simon the Sorcerer 
4 July Welcome Acts 8:26–40 Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch 
11 July Welcome         Acts 9:1–31  Saul’s conversion
18 July Welcome Acts 10 Peter and Cornelius 
25 July  Blessing Acts 14:8–20  Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe
1 August Worship         Acts 16:16–40 Paul and Silas in Prison in Philippi
8 August  Blessing Acts 17:16–34  Paul in Athens 


 

Rev. Trevor Neill, 30/04/2021
Glenys
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
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Planning your Visit

Welcome 

We’re glad you've chosen to have a look at our website, and hope you’re interested to find out more about Selsdon Baptist Church.

A church is primarily about people, and we are a friendly group of people who love God and live in Selsdon and nearby.

We have a church building on Addington Road, Selsdon, but at the moment we have only very limited use of the building because of the Covid pandemic. But that doesn’t stop us worshipping God – only we have to do it over Zoom and YouTube!

Most of us watch together at the same time (10 30am) on Sunday, and then join to chat and discuss on Zoom just afterwards.
We’d be delighted for you to join our YouTube worship, listen to the midweek reflections on YouTube, listen to the Ask the Ministers Podcast, or join the Zoom meeting.

Depending on the current restrictions level, there is the opportunity to join us to watch the YouTube service in the church building itself – check the service details for each Sunday for instructions.

If you’d like to find out more about us and about our Christian faith, please browse the website. The Blog page will give you a feel for our recent ideas and activities. If you would like to talk to someone, please fill out the contact form below for a chat.

Hopefully when the pandemic eases, you’ll be able to come and see what we’re like on a Sunday and at other events – watch the website to see what becomes possible and when.

You may find the following pages useful to read more about  us:

What we Believe
Baptism (we are a Baptist church!)
Latest News and Announcements (what’s going on at the moment)
Blog (what we’ve done recently)


 

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Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and see if we can help.
 

Leadership 

trevor-neill-2-600x450   denzil-2-600x366
Rev Trevor Neill   Rev. Denzil Larbi
Ministry Team Leader   Associate Minister with a focus on Evangelism
 
We hope that whoever you are, you will feel at home at our church.