Have you thought about doing something special for this overlooked day in the church calendar? Ascension Day is Thursday, May 21st this year. You probably haven’t because it’s not a popular holiday, but it was a remarkable memorable moment for the disciples as they watched Jesus ascend into Heaven. Can you imagine what that was like? There is much for us to learn about this event so here are some simple ways to observe this day and learn more about our Saviour and His return!
This list is intended to be simple and helpful if you want to join us in celebrating Ascension Day this year. No pressure, don’t stress; just six quick ideas.
1. A dinnertime idea: Historically, Ascension Day has been a feast day in the church. Consider making something special for dinner to surprise your family. Or create an easy pavlova, meringues, or another cloud-like dessert to celebrate the Ascension—and how Jesus will return. Here are a few verses to read as a family so everyone can participate in learning more:
Mark 16:19, Where is Jesus? Who is He near and why is that important to us?
Hebrews 7:25, What does this tell us Jesus is doing now in Heaven?
John 14:1-3, What else is Jesus doing? Talk about what kind of places and rooms these might be.
2. A bedtime idea: For bedtime conversation ask your kids to imagine what it must have been like to watch Jesus rise off the ground, into the air and then disappear in a cloud? Read Acts 1: 6-9 together to hear what actually happened.
3. An outside idea: If it’s not raining go outside, throw a quilt or blanket on the ground, everyone lay on their backs to look up at the sky and clouds together. Read Acts 1:11 then together imagine Jesus returning on one of the fluffiest clouds you can see. I bet some kids will try to see Him!
4. An inside idea: Or if the weather doesn’t permit, read the same verse and then have your kids, even teens, draw and colour pictures of what they imagine they will see when Jesus returns on the clouds! Hang all the drawings, for visual reminders in the days to come that He promised to return and one day He will!
5. A teens idea: With older kids try to discuss how our lives should be different because Jesus was here with us. Ask them what they imagine it was like for the disciples after the resurrection. Did they live as if Jesus had never come? What evidence should be obvious to us and others that He once lived among us and is forever present with us? He promised His presence, “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Mt 28:20). Jesus is closer to us every moment of every day than any other human can ever be!
6. A family idea: Buy some helium balloons for the special day. Enjoy their happy presence all day. Then in the late afternoon or early evening before the sun sets, take the balloons outside, read the story of Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:6-11, write a note or message to Jesus on your balloon and then together release them. Watch them disappear into the sky and imagine His disciples watching Jesus ascend to Heaven.
I hope these suggestions are inspiring and that you’ll want to try one with your family. Ascension Day is worth marking in our lives in a celebratory way!
We’d love to hear any stories and see photos of how you celebrated with your family – Use #Lagoonside if you do post on social media!
Fire Doesn’t Go ...
Dr. Adrian Rogers would tell a story that beautifully illustrates the scriptural truth that Christians will not see the judgement of the Great White Throne, though they will meet Him at the Bema.
It concerns a party of cow-hands searching for strays on the American prairies in the early nineteenth century.
They were caught suddenly in a raging prairie fire that can spread as fast as a horse can gallop, depending on the conditions. An old hand took charge and set fire to a patch of prairie downwind ahead of them, and when the ground had cooled sufficiently they walked the horses on to the burnt ground. The other hands were slow to appreciate what he had done, and while they trusted his hard earned wisdom and experience and followed his instructions, they were perplexed and asked what was the good of it. He made the telling observation so relevant to our point, that: “Fire doesn’t go where fire has gone before.”
It is true, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12: 29) but the believer is in the cleft of the rock, hid in Christ, and... Christ took the brunt of God's judgement in our place.
“Fire doesn’t go where fire has gone before.”
As we take heart in this, remember to give God thanks for our amazing salvation in Christ. Should you feel in need of assistance during this time, remember the Elders and church family are here for you. Simply call or message us. (Devotion courtesy of Rob Jenkins).
Wayne Schmidt (Rev.)
Who doesn't want to be healthy? I mean...physically. Of course, we all do. That being the case, we are certain that there are specific daily habits which contribute to good physical health; we call them physical hygiene. Nearly all of us took courses in Primary and High school that covered the basics of good physical hygiene. Everyone agrees that good hygiene includes eating right, sleeping well, physical exercise, bathing properly and, of course, brushing our teeth. The symptoms of neglect for some of these become obvious more quickly than others. If you miss one night of sleep, your performance on even routine tasks may be severely substandard. However, it may be several days before people begin to notice that one hasn't been bathing properly or teeth brushing. Nonetheless, even the neglect of these over a period of time will have negative health implications. With the Covid19 Virus spreading, we are all becoming very conscious of personal hygiene.
A Believer's spiritual health is accomplished likewise - through good spiritual hygiene. The scripture abounds with admonitions that encourage the practice of spiritual hygiene. Here's the list - just four:
(1) Read your Bible,
(3) Fellowship with other Believers and
(4) Share your faith with others.
I'm convinced that a Believer cannot experience the abundant life in Jesus Christ (John 10:10) without exercising good spiritual hygiene on a systematic basis. Here's why. Let's start backward and work forward on this one - the bottom line (so to speak). God wants to see Believers living their lives before the world in a manner that glorifies God through Jesus Christ; that's the bottom line. In order for that to be the case, each Believer must demonstrate the attributes of Christ. Well...that comes naturally when Believers are led by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." There they are, nine attributes, symptoms of being led by the Holy Spirit of God. You don't work on those individually; they are symptoms of reality. To attempt to fabricate these attributes is like covering oneself with deodorant and cologne to disguise one's failure to bathe. It doesn't solve the problem - just disguises the symptom (and perhaps not very well).
It should be emphasized here that the fullness of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by the attributes of Galatians 5:22-23, not the manifestation of spiritual gifts in I Corinthians 12. Paul makes this fact very clear in I Corinthians 12-14 and Galatians 5. Let's state it simply: When you are led by the Holy Spirit, you will be characterized by nine attributes of the "fruit of the Spirit." Now you might ask, "How do you arrive at a point in your Christian life where you are led by the Holy Spirit?" That's simple; those who are led by the Holy Spirit are those who are filled by the Holy Spirit. Due to the unscriptural teaching that prevails regarding the "filling of the Holy Spirit," this process requires some additional explanation.
Everyone who has trusted Jesus Christ as savior has received the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13 says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." Romans 8:9 further substantiates this fact when Paul says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." However, receiving the Holy Spirit and being filled by the Holy Spirit are not functionally identical. All Believers receive the Holy Spirit at salvation. It's the Holy Spirit that makes the salvation possible in the first place (John 6:44), and it is also the Holy Spirit that seals our salvation experience by inducting us into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13; II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30). However, the filling of the Holy Spirit involves a continual process in the Believer after salvation. Filling of the Holy Spirit is not a one time experience, but a continual process. Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." The Greek word for "filled" there is a verb (present passive imperative) that, based upon the tense, speaks of a continual process of filling. In other words, you don't get filled just one time and ride that out for the remainder of your life. Again, it's a continual process. Wouldn't it be great if we could fill our cars up with fuel the day we purchase them and never have to do it again? We expect to fuel our cars. Expect also to fuel the spiritual man. When you fuel the spiritual man with practices of good spiritual hygiene, the spiritual man becomes strong in your life because you are filling up. When you are full of the Holy Spirit, you are led by the Holy Spirit. When you are led by the Holy Spirit, people see the attributes of Jesus Christ flowing out from you, the "fruit of the Spirit."
What is this fuel for the spiritual man within every Believer? The answer is simple: the practices of GOOD SPIRITUAL HYGIENE. Let's list them again:
What historical days we suddenly appear to be living in. Our Lord and his disciples also found themselves living in challenging days. Asking ourselves what is the Lord's will for my life here and now, Paul reminded Timothy that the key is personal holiness based on sound teaching, 1Th 4:3 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification..." We can confidently move forward in these times because of the Lord's presence in our lives, which was the key element we heard in a recent sermon from Mark's Gospel when Jesus calmed the storm. Their security was to be with Jesus. Might I encourage you to be faithful in your daily time of prayer and Scripture.
It appears we now have the first confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Knysna. The only way we can determine how long this entire concern will last is by helping to limit the possibility of spread and exposure through maintaining what is now known as “social distancing.” This is quite a "big gulp" for a pastor to swallow. While this will all be monitored and reviewed on a weekly basis, I feel this is something we need to prepare to embrace and endure. So for now, Sunday Services will be suspended until further notice.
Ministry and Support
I must emphasise, “Church isn’t closed…the building is.” The church is alive and acting in faith, hope and love to share Christ and serve others. Don’t lose sight of this. We are living forward even in days of uncertainty because our confidence is in the Lord and in His word.
Know I am praying for you and hope you are praying with me for our national leadership, local community and for one another as we persevere in these days.
We will continue to minister to you and each other on a more individual personal level, We are able to interact and communicate through some platforms like Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lagoonsideknysna/, Church Website https://www.lagoonside.org/, WhattsApp group we will create for Lagoonside and Youtube.. This is something we want to sharpen and expand in the coming days.
For your tithes and offerings, for now for those able, use internet banking, and those who aren't able, contact us. Our Banking Details are as follows:
FNB, A/C No. 62079193852
Branch Code 210214
So stay tuned… there’s more to come. Thank you!
Freely you have received; freely give. (Mathew 10:8)
“I got you a present!” my two-year-old grandson shouted excitedly as he pressed a box into my hands. “He picked it out all by himself,” my wife smiled.
I opened the box to find a Christmas ornament of his favorite cartoon character. “Can I see it?” he asked anxiously. Then he played with “my” present for the rest of the evening, and as I watched him, I smiled.
I smiled because I remembered gifts I had given loved ones in the past, like the music album I gave my older brother one Christmas when I was in high school that I really wanted to listen to (and did). And I realized how years later God was still stretching me and teaching me to give more unselfishly.
Giving is something we grow into. Paul wrote, “But since you excel in everything . . . see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7). Grace fills our giving as we understand that all we have is from God, and He has shown us “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
God generously gave us the most unselfish gift of all: His only Son, who would die on a cross for our sins and be raised to life. Any who receive this ultimate gift are rich beyond measure. As our hearts are focused on Him, our hands open in love to others.
(By: James Banks)
Reflect & Pray
In what ways do you need to grow in giving? What could you do today?
Thank You, Father, for giving me the best gift of all: Your Son! Help me to share Your generosity with others today.
Encouragement to Give Generously
2Co 8:1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2Co 8:2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 2Co 8:3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 2Co 8:4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 2Co 8:5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 2Co 8:6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 2Co 8:7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
2Co 8:8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Lagoonside Church, Knysna
Whether enjoying personal devotions, a Bible study, or a worship service, what mental images emerge when you’re presented with passages that encourage hospitality?
For some, the images mirror glossy magazine photos—an immaculate home, a gourmet menu, an exquisite table setting. And while some of these images could be applied to biblical hospitality in certain situations, what they actually portray is entertaining.
When hospitality is described in Scripture, there are zero instructions regarding home decor, menu, or table setting.
Colour and context through Scripture as we paint a word portrait of biblical hospitality.
Developing a Hospitable Heart
As we consider the Bible passages that challenge us to practice hospitality, most of us can recall a time when we tried to extend friendship and were met with rejection. Satan can use that rejection as a roadblock to prevent you from obeying God on future occasions.
If we are to cultivate a heart of biblical hospitality, we must refuse to rely on our achievements or to dwell on our failures. Lay aside past rejections and grudges. Instead, we must seek to climb the “hospitality mountain.”
The ascent begins with developing proper climbing strategies; here are some to get you started:
An Opportunity for Evangelism
The 21st-century church has cultivated highly sophisticated procedures and tools for evangelism. Training sessions, online and media resources, seminars, manuals, and methodology books are all available. However, as we study Scripture we also find that the home served as a centre for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity.
May God give us grace to respond to his welcome in Christ by welcoming others with gospel intentionality.
This year we want our church family to really explore this Biblical perspective and make hospitality a priority!
“Father, please bless them, I pray.” Ever prayed like this for someone? I have. And it always seems dissatisfying and insufficient. “Is that the best I can pray for them?” I sometimes wonder. “Shouldn’t I be more specific?”
When I pray such a generic prayer, I often wince at the similarity it has to the champion of all nonspecific prayers: “And please bless all the missionaries everywhere.”
Honestly, without some teaching on the matter, I doubt that any follower of Jesus prays well for other Christians. But I do think intercession for others is something any Christian would want to improve.
The Believer's Responsibility
Believers are commanded in James 5:17 to “pray for one another.” In the context of the passage, the mutual intercessions include “that you may be healed.” It’s a paragraph about praying in faith for those who are sick.
But the rest of the New Testament makes it clear that the responsibility for Christians to pray for one another is not limited to prayers for the sick. Far more than that. Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul pleads, “Brothers, pray for us” (see, for example, 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1). His letters to churches testify of his prayers for them (see Eph. 1:15–23; Col. 1:9–14). Even Jesus Himself asked for the prayers of Peter, James, and John in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:38, 40–41).
One of the four core characteristics of the church in Jerusalem after Pentecost was that “they devoted themselves to … the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Can anyone doubt that these corporate prayers included much prayer for each other?
While intercession for others may have become more common among believers after Pentecost, it wasn’t unusual in the Old Testament period. For instance, the prophet Samuel assured his fellow Israelites: “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23).
Given that bearing the burdens of others in prayer is characteristically Christian, how then should we pray for each other? While each situation has its own specifics, here are three ways to pray well for other believers.
Pray Paul’s Prayers
Anytime you want to intercede for a brother or sister in Christ, you can never go wrong praying the words the Apostle Paul was inspired to use when he prayed for other Christians.
It is always good to pray, for example, that others would have... the eyes of [their] hearts enlightened, that [they] may know what is the hope to which he has called [them], what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might, that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:18–20)
A wide variety of such God-glorifying, Christ-centered prayers for others can be found in Ephesians 1:15–23; 3:14–21; Philippians 1:9–11; Colossians 1:9–14; 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13; and 2 Thessalonians 1:13–14. Please look them up and ponder over them.
Pray Other Biblical Passages
You can pray not only the prayers in Ephesians—you can pray the entire letter. So, you can ask the Lord to help your fellow believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [they] have been called” (4:1). After you have expanded on that thought for a moment, you can go on to pray for their “humility and gentleness with patience,” then that they would “bear with others in love” (4:2).
Continue praying in this way through the rest of Ephesians 4 until you reach the end of the chapter or run out of time. The entire Bible can be prayed this way, but the New Testament letters are particularly suited for this. Beyond them, I especially encourage turning the Psalms into prayer.
Pray for God to Be Glorified!
Ever had an awkward moment where a fellow Christian asks you to pray for him and you’re not sure that what he wants you to pray is a good idea? Here’s something that’s never out of place to pray in those situations—that God would be glorified in the matter.
In John 14:13 Jesus promised, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” In every circumstance, it’s appropriate to pray “that the Father may be glorified” in it.
Let’s “pray for one another,” and pray biblically. As an added thought, why not find a prayer partner that can pray with you occasionally, and secondly, perhaps have a list of people in and around your life to help you remember each one faithfully. Lastly never tell someone you will pray for them if you do not intend doing so.
Greetings Lagoonside Family
Congratualtions! You've made it to 2020. A New Year, a new chapter, a new season in life. What will it hold for you? Take each step in faithful obedience to the Lord. As one great preacher recently said, "May God grant you the wisdom to choose the excellent things, and let go the non-essentials."
As we embark on this New Year in 2020, we would love to serve you with an amazing Breakfast / Brunch. When you enter church on the 12th Jan @ 9:30, you will find the seating rearranged and tables set for a wonderful meal together as a church family. Between the singing, worship time and preaching, we will have fellowship, feeding both spirit and body.
What to bring. Just come as you are with your bible in hand and a cheerful spirit!
Our theme as we go through the Gospel of Mark this first quarter is "A Servants Heart".
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mar 10:45
Lagoonside Ministry Team
You are Invited to come and join us for our Christmas Celebration this Christmas Eve
Our Christmas Eve Service will be held at the Premiere Hotel at 6 pm
Feel free to invite friends, family and your neighbours, all are welcome
Pastor Wayne Schmidt
Lagoonside Church, Knysna
Exploring your faith and spirituality can be really confusing sometimes. There are A LOT of conflicting voices in the world that try to tell us what we should believe about God, or what Christians are all about. Between the cacophony of opinions and the social/political/cultural taboos that surround us — it’s really easy to have questions about faith that you might not feel comfortable or empowered to ask. Why not arrange a coffee with one of our pastors. We are here to serve, counsel and guide you. To come along side you and walk that journey with you. Call us, we'd love to hear from you and get together with you.