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The Best Gift of all time

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, The Best Gift of all time, was given at The Salvation Army Devonport on Sunday 8 June, 2014, Pentecost Sunday. The Reading was Acts 2:1-21

What was the best gift that you’ve ever been given? Think back over all your birthdays, Christmas, random gifts just for being gorgeous, what was the best gift that you’ve ever received?

907470Wikipedia_SNES_PALWhen I think back, there’s three gifts that really stand out for me. I’ve brought two of them here today, so I’ll talk first about the one I don’t have. Back when I was about 10, for my birthday I was given a SNES by my parents. This was my first gaming console, and started me on a wonderful journey of gaming that progressed through the Gameboy, N64 and eventually onto PC gaming. I don’t really want to admit how much money I’ve spent on gaming products, but that first system, that SNES, that holds a special place because it was, for me, my first introduction to the world of gaming.

The picture of how I had my room painted.
The picture of how I had my room painted.

The second gift was this painting, which is currently normally hangs in our lounge room. This was my 21st birthday present from my parents. I was repainting my room, and I wanted it to reflect my love of the violin. So we colourmatched my violin, and I painted two black F-holes on the wall, and we chose this painting to hang between them. I look at this painting, and I remember back to my 21st, I think of my parents, and the support they’ve given me over the years.

Finally, we come to this, my violin. The label says that it is a 1796 Josef Klotz, however it’s actually a copy, made around 1900 by an unknown German luthier. When I started to take the violin seriously, I needed a better quality violin than the one that I had, which was a 1995 Chinese copy of a Stradivarius. My dad knew of this woman, who had lent him this violin when I first started. She offered to lend me the violin while I was taking my exams.

My violin
My violin

All through high school, and then into University, I played this instrument. I learnt it, and through playing its tone which had sat dormant for many years, developed and became my tone. But while it was my tone, I knew that it wasn’t my instrument, and that one day I would need to give it back. My thought was that once I finished my university degree, that I would need to give it back. I played my graduation recital, and invited the owner of the violin to come to dinner afterwards. At dinner, she announced that the violin was now mine, that it was her gift to me. So while those other two gifts were incredible, if push came to shove, I would have to say that this was the best gift I ever received. Continue reading The Best Gift of all time

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What do we do with these gifts?

Icon of the Pentecost
An Icon of the Pentecost. (Image via Wikipedia)

On Sunday, I took a service at Cottesloe Uniting Church. This was my first service at a Uniting Church, and I had to put the service together – not knowing what a Uniting Church Service consisted of. I think I did ok. Anyway, I thought I’d publish my sermon from Sunday. The bible readings for the day were Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; and John 20:19-23. I’m backing up this week, I’m preaching at Floreat this Sunday. I think I’ll be building a bit off of this sermon as well as the one that Lt. Gareth preached at Floreat. Continue reading What do we do with these gifts?

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Early Thoughts: What do you do with your gift?

Holy Spirit dove window
Image by hickory hardscrabble via Flickr

Yesterday, I was asked to preach at a service at a Uniting Church. Although Initially being asked to preach in April, due to other commitments, it’s been moved back to June, and the day that I’ve been given just happens to be the day of Pentecost. Now, the sermon is a long way off, but I still have some ideas on what I may speak on.

For those not in the know, Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of flames, and allowed the disciples to speak in other languages. One of the readings for the day is 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, which says:

No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

There are varieties of gifts – but these all come from the same spirit. Varieties of services, but the same lord. Varieties of activities, but the same God who activates them. It doesn’t matter what gift you have, they are all important, and they are all from the Holy Spirit.

The important thing to take away from the day of Pentecost is that we have been given this glorious gift – the Holy Spirit. Now that we have this gift, what are we going to do with it?

Below is the Parramatta Songsters doing an awesome version of Send the Fire. The last line of the first verse always gets me: “We need another Pentecost! Send the Fire today!”

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