The religious leaders were very angry about the followers of Jesus. They tried to stop them meeting together and talking in public places. One day they killed one of them, a man called Stephen. It was the beginning of a terrible time. The church was broken up as the attackers went from house to house.
The believers began to leave for places spread across all the countries of that area. But they showed great courage and everywhere they went they continued to tell people about Jesus. They were all missionaries and so the Good News began to travel across the world. The church began to grow.
In the weeks after Jesus rose from the dead he spent time with his friends talking and sharing. One day he said to them, "Don't leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. This gift is the Holy Spirit, God’s presence with you to help you."
Not long after this happened Jesus and his friends went out to a mountain. Jesus prayed for them and then he ascended to /leaven. The disciples remembered his promises and the stories they knew about the prophets of long ago. They tried to be patient but they found it difficult to wait for the gift Jesus had promised
As they waited they continued to meet and pray together.
Outside the temple in Jerusalem there was a man who had been unable to walk property since he was born. He used to sit there every day and beg for money from the people coming to the temple. One day Peter and John set off to walk to the temple.As they walked they were talking about everything that had happened to them. They were remembering their friend Jesus. As they got close to the gate they heard a voice calling to them. 'Please help me. Spare some change for a poor man." Peter and John stopped.
Peter spoke to the lame man, "Look at me" he said.
The man was really surprised. Usually he looked down at his poor lame feet all day long. But now, he looked up from the sandals into the eyes of the two men. He lifted his bowl high, hoping to get money from them. But Peter said: 'I don't have any money. I don't own silver or gold. But what 1 do have, I'm going to give to you." Peter was scared and the man was confused. But Peter remembered how Jesus helped people. Somehow he found the courage to speak.
'In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, get up and walk." Peter reached out a hand and pulled the man to his feet incredibly, unbelievably, the man found strength in his legs. He dropped his bowl, bent his knees, raised his arms and then began to jump! He began to leap and jump and dance and praise God!
Peter and John went into the temple with the man. Everyone saw him walking. Everyone heard him praising God. They all knew that he was the beggar at the gate. They were amazed at what had happened to him.
I don't need to be afraid to speak to people about Jesus because we are not on our own. We have the Holy Spirit to give us courage.
As Jesus' followers gathered together on the day of Pentecost, they heard a noise like the wind. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person in the crowd. It was awesome!
They were all filled with God's Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages. There were people in Jerusalem who had come from all over the world. When they heard the noise, a large crowd gathered. The disciples began telling everyone about Jesus.
Everyone understood' what they said and many people became followers of Jesus. About 3O00 people were added to their group that day (Acts 2. 3-5, 41)
All of those who had come to believe in Jesus met together, and shared everything. They didn't even say that they owned their own things. No-one said: "This is mine. You can't have it" They helped each other in every way so that no-one was in need.
One day the leaders realized that helping to provide for those in need was taking up so much of their time that they weren't able to tell people about Jesus. So they called a meeting and decided to choose some people to do the practical things whilst others went out to preach. This worked really well.
Different people had different jobs: some were good at organising, some were good at helping, some were good at teaching, some were good at giving, some were good at healing. But everybody's gifts were equally important. Everybody was special and they all worked together to spread the good news of God's love.
(Based on Acts 4: 32-34, Acts 6: 1-7 and Romans 12: 4-8)
I thought the whole experience was a real blessing to ALL who came,
The stepping stones reminded me of God walking with me in the good and the bad times.
Enjoyed it all.
Val and Alan
The Festival of Pentecost was an important time for Jews. 50 days after the feast of Passover many of the Jewish people made their way to Jerusalem for a great celebration. They had travelled from far and wide to praise God for the harvest and to thank Him for the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. It was time for remembering God's love for the world.
When the Day of Pentecost came, all Jesus' friends were gathered together in one place, still waiting, still paying together and still expecting God's Holy Spirit. Maybe they were remembering the things that Jesus had told them. Maybe they were remembering the people Jesus helped. Maybe they were remembering the story of God's love for the world he had created.
"Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." (Acts 2; 1-2)
It was amazing! It was exciting! The disciples had received God's Holy Spirit!