God the Holy Spirit

Have you ever been so afraid of something that you’ve hidden away? That’s what the disciples were doing after Jesus had returned to the father. They had been directed to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the father and of the son and of the spirit. But instead they were hiding away because they knew that their lives were at risk – especially if they were to start saying that Jesus had come back to life.

Jesus had always said that he would send a helper and that’s what happened at Pentecost. The disciples were hiding and the spirit came. Suddenly the disciples couldn’t stop themselves they had to go out, they had to tell people. They were even able to tell people who spoke different languages.

This is what we mean by God the Spirit – the element of God that we are looking at this week. It is God the Spirit that enables us to come out of the hiding and declare the truth about God. Some of the images used for the Holy Spirit are fire and wind – symbols of power. People can be scared of the Holy Spirit, or should we say wary. Pope Francis puts it very well when he says “ The Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us. Makes us walk. Pushes the Church forward”

The Holy Spirit enables us to do things for the kingdom. The first disciples were able to talk to people from all over the world about Jesus, once they had been filled by the spirit. That coming of the spirit read abut in the book of Acts is now celebrated every year as the birthday of the Church. It was at that coming of the Spirit that the Church started to grow, and the Church continues to be moved by the Spirit today.

So… God the Spirit… the power that pushes us out, that drags us out of hiding, that pushes us forward. It is the Spirit that enables us to fulfil the call we were given to make disciples of all nations.

By asking to be filled with the Spirit of God we are asking to stand out from the crowd, to be seen as something different. Is that something you are willing to ask?

Prayer: father God we ask you to fill us with your spirit’ that we may be able to do your will on earth.

Challenge: the spirit enabled the early disciples to tell others about Jesus and to start the Church. Have you told anyone new about Jesus recently?


God the Son


I’m watching a programme at the moment where the children in the town are a bit lost because many of their father’s were miners, and were unfortunately killed in an accident. They live in a society where you are supposed to follow the profession of your father, so now they have no father’s, and their dad’s were killed by the profession, so they are a little bit lost. The boys will have grown up knowing they were going to be miners, and the girls probably growing up knowing they would be married to miners.

This is a tradition that we seem to have lost now, following in the family business. It just so happens that my mum was a teacher, and I am a teacher – although that was my choice. My dad worked in book-keeping, and my brother… well… I’m not entirely sure what he does but it’s not book-keeping. We tend to be encouraged to follow our dreams, and not automatically follow the family line.

However, this concept of family business, is quite an important one for today’s theme. We are continuing to look at the nature of God, the different characteristics that make up the God that we worship. This week we are looking at God the Son. The part of the trinity that we most commonly know as Jesus. The incarnation, when God became man. Through the incarnation we were able to see the perfect example of how we should live, we continue to read the examples of miracles he performed, stories he told, friendships he formed.

Why did God do this? Why would God choose to leave heaven and become a human? One of my favourite authors puts it beautifully

The son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus calls his disciples, the chosen ones to live most closely to him. James and John were fishermen, they were in their father’s boat, Jesus called them. They left their nets and they followed him.

To say they left their nets doesn’t sound too horrific, but what that means is that they left their livelihood, everything they had ever known, what they had spent their lives training for. They didn’t know what following the call would lead to, but they knew they had to follow it.

People think that God the Son was only with us for 33 years, and yet the Bible tells us that God the Trinity were together from the beginning, and are still together now. Those 33 years are just when God was in physical form, as a human. Going through the same struggles as us. Giving us the guidance of how to pray, how to treat people, how to cope with struggles.

Jesus continues to call us today.

We may not be called away from a family profession, but we may be called away from habits, media, friends, distractions, any thing that may take us away from following the example of Jesus, and worshipping God.

Prayer: We thank you that came as Jesus to be our example. May we listen to your call on our lives, and what you want us to do and where you want us to do it. Amen

Challenge: What things could you step away from that distract you from the call of the son?


God the Father

Happy new year. I hope you had a great break over the Christmas holidays and were able to rest and celebrate amongst the madness of catching up with family and friends and other festivities.

Last half term as part of our collective worship we were considering why we worship, especially looking at the words of hymns we use as part of our worship. This term we are going to be looking at who we worship. The God of Christianity. On Thursday I introduced this topic within the full school worship by considering the fact that we all have a name, and yet we have different characteristics. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, an aunty, a teacher, a friend. I am different things to different people, at different times, and yet I am just one person.

It is the same with God. (Don’t worry I’m not comparing myself with God) within Christianity we worship one God and yet that God is known and experienced in many different ways. Over the next term we will be considering different aspects of God, how we may need different characteristics of God at different times and how God reveals himself to us in different ways.

We are going to start with one element of the Trinity of God as father. I’m not sure what your relationship with your father is, it is going to be different for different people. However, the one thing that is in common for us all is that our father gives us life.

When we think of God as father we think of God the creator, the one who made the heavens and the earth. The one who thought the world into being, because he wanted to be in relationship. Once he had made the heavens and the earth he made humans, in his likeness, so that they could be in relationship with him. The whole of creation comes out of love, we are a reflection of that love. In the book of James it says

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

God, who made the heavens and the earth, chose for each and everyone of us to be.

I’ve always had a bit of an odd relationship with my dad. He’s not really an emotional sort, and we tend to communicate through insults and sarcasm. But I KNOW that he loves me and that he has always got my back. There are two events that stick in my mind. Firstly, there was a time when someone had come round to speak to me about a role I had been doing, and I’d said I didn’t want to do it anymore. It was a horrible meeting and I ended up getting very upset. I found out the next day my dad had gone round to that persons house and said something along the lines of ‘don’t you EVER make my daughter cry again or you will regret it’! I was completely overwhelmed that my dad had responded like that in defence of me. The second event was when I was at university and I got a phone call from my dad. He said that he had phoned my secondary school and had offered a prize to be given at the annual speech day, which would be entitled the ‘Helen Bagnall prize for ‘perseverance ‘. I’d not always had an easy time at school with various health and family issues, and yet I had got my qualifications and been able to attend university. This was my dads way of telling me he was proud of me. Again, I was overwhelmed by this act of love from my dad.

When Jesus was asked how to pray he said that we should start by saying ‘our father in heaven’. We know that he often referred to God as Abba Father – the equivalent of daddy. It is often daunting to think of God as the creator the heavens and the earth – how are we, mere humans who make mistakes constantly, meant to even contemplate approaching Him. As though he is our dad, who loves us, cares for us, will sometimes need to point out our mistakes but will always be there with open arms when we need him – as we are shown in the parable of the prodigal son. The father who is proud of us. When Jesus was baptised we are told there was a voice from heaven saying this is my son with whom I am pleased.

As we look through the Bible there are countless examples of God showing himself as a loving father – if you get the opportunity I urge you to look at the fathers love letter – which can be found if you search for it. So how do we respond? Max Lucado says

God has proven himself a loving father, now we must prove ourselves loving Children

As I said my dad didn’t always tell me that he loved me, and we would mainly communicate through insults and sarcasm, and yet there were so many actions that made m now that love was there. My role then, was to try to be a good daughter, to show him that I loved him. Whether that was through entertaining discussions about cricket or speedway, or watching a programme he wanted, or actually just making sure my mum was ok. These actions, were a reflection of that love for him.

Do we know that God loves us as his children? If not, then ask questions, find out more about it.

If we do know that God loves us as his children, how do we reflect that love and show Him our love for Him and be loving children?

Challenge: either think about ways in which you recognise God as father in your life, or find out ways that God has demonstrated this in the Bible.

Prayer: Father God we thank you that you chose to create this world, and that you chose to create us. We thank you that you are not a distant God but that you want to be our dad, and you want us to be your children. He us to recognise that love, and to demonstrate that love back to you. Amen.


Dreams… Angels… Stars… the entirety of the nativity story is full of extraordinary events of God revealing his message to people. The Old Testament is also full of stories of revelation. What do we mean by revelation?

Something being disclosed. Receiving new information. In this case it is God disclosing something about him.

It is very easy for us to think “God hasn’t sent any angels to me. I’ve not had any special dreams” but it doesn’t have to be in those big events. It may be in a kind gesture, a beautiful sunrise, a word from the Bible.

The world is God’s revelation. We can see the extraordinary in the ordinary… if we choose to.

This Christmas are you going to focus on the presents, decorations, music and food or are you going to choose to discover more of what God wants to reveal about himself to you?

Have a great Christmas. Amen



A lot of people will have woken up this morning with their hopes filled as they opened the curtains and saw the gardens, roads and paths covered in white. I’ve heard the children playing outside whilst I’ve stayed under the covers with no intention to go outside today.

In two weeks time we will be opening presents on Christmas morning, what are you hoping to open?

Advent is about anticipation, about patience and about hope. Pope Francis says “Advent increases our hope, a hope which does not disappoint. The Lord does not let us down”. As Christians we have a tendency to focus on the Gospels and the New Testament, because that’s when the Church started. However, it is the Old Testament that is the basis for the hope we can have in God.

If you have ever been to a traditional 9 lessons and carols you will know that all of the first lessons are from the Old Testament, from the prophets who were messengers from God, messengers of good news, good news that gave the people of God hope. Hope that God was going to save his people, that he was going to send a saviour. The remainder of the lessons are from the Gospels showing how God fulfilled that promise.

That is why Advent increases our hope, our hope that God will fulfil his promises. This is not the same as hoping that it will snow, or hoping that we will get the present that we want. This is a hope that God will fulfil the many promises that He has made throughout the Bible. The hope in forgiveness, in eternal life, in everlasting love, in peace and so much more. In a world of darkness this hope brings us a flicker of life.

So this advent, what will your hope be in?

Challenge: Look up some of the promises of God throughout the Bible, choose one of these promises and spend some time reflecting on this promise and how it can be fulfilled in you

Prayer: Father God, we thank you that have fulfilled your promises, and we pray that this time of advent will be a time of hope for us all. Amen



Patience is a virtue… a virtue that doesn’t come very easily to me. We should probably start off by understanding what we mean by virtue. A virtue is a character trait, something about our character that is thought to be a good thing.

Advent has officially started now, not just because it is December but also because there are only 4 Sundays left before Christmas. Advent is all about patience, waiting for the coming of the king, the promised saviour, the prince of peace.

The Bible is full of stories where people had to be patient, they had been promised something amazing, but they had to wait for that promise to be fulfilled. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Isaiah.

Why do we value patience so much? We are told that it is a fruit of the spirit, along with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This means that it is something that grows within us, as we develop in our faith.

We live in a world where we can pretty much get whatever we want whenever we want it. We don’t have to wait any more, or if we do it’s not normally for very long. However, waiting is part of the journey, it is often a time when we can learn more about ourselves, about each other, about the thing we are waiting for. It makes the fulfilment of the promise even more special.

Patience is also valuable when talking to other people, we can quite often jump in and make other people’s decisions for them, finishing off their sentences, but by being patient we can allow people to grow and develop within themselves.

Our thought for the week comes from Stanley Hauerwas and says

Advent is patience it’s how God made has made us a people of promise, in a world of impatience

The Bible is full of promises from God, promises that we long to see fulfilled, but that we don’t always see in the world. This can become disheartening, except Advent reminds us of the greatest promise, that was spoken about throughout the Old Testament of a saviour being sent. Lots of people lost patience, gave up, and yet Jesus was the fulfilment of that promise. We can trust that God will fulfil all those promises, but we must be patient, and trust His timing. It might be frustrating, and disheartening but we will be amazed at what we learn throughout the journey.

Challenge: is there something that you are particularly impatient for at the moment? Think about what you can learn/develop if you are patient for that thing

Prayer: thank you God that you fulfill the promises that you make. Thank you for the promise of new life with Jesus. Help us to trust your promises and give us patience to wait for their fulfilment and enjoy the journey. Amen


Officially in the Church of England advent starts next Sunday, but because we have 3.5 weeks left at school we’re starting advent now. I’m not sure how many of you have got decorations up yet? If you’ve started to listen to the music, watched the films, bought the presents, wrapped the presents?

Advent is a time of preparation, preparing for the coming of a King. As with so many things we can take that to be a practical preparation, all the things I’ve listed above. Let’s face it, that’s what we are encouraged to do by the shops. However, it is important to remember that it is a time to prepare our hearts and our minds.

Throughout advent we tend to look at the Old Testament, where we can see that God is trying to prepare the world for Jesus. In Isaiah 40 it says

A voice of one calling:

‘In the wilderness prepare

    the way for the LORD;

make straight in the desert

    a highway for our God.

The people knew that they were expecting a saviour, that the Lord was coming, but was Jesus what they were expecting? Probably not. The people were prepared but Jesus did not match up with their expectations.

Are you a present guesser? Or even a present finder? I used to search round my parents house finding presents before Christmas. One year I found two pairs of Wallace and gromit slipper socks, so I told my brother that we were each getting a pair of slipper socks. Christmas Day comes we are opening presents and… I get both pairs of slipper socks. My brother was gutted, because he thought he was getting a pair. It turns out if I had looked carefully I would have seen that they wouldn’t have fitted him anyway. So I had to by him a new pair of slipper socks from my Christmas money!

You might think that it’s silly to have a time of preparation for Christmas, afterlife we know the story, our faith is based on the belief that Jesus was born and turned out be the saviour that wasn’t expected.

But… do we get complacent about that? Do we truly recognise what that means? Or do we focus on the decorations, all the extra services, and the dinner?

We may understand what Christmas is celebrating but are we recognising what Jesus is still doing in our lives today, or what Jesus wants to do in and through us?

This is what advent is about, that reminder that we need to stop, and to prepare our hearts and minds to welcome Jesus again. We may have ideas or what God wants to do with us, or what we’d like God to do with us, but as we can see from the Christmas story, that we know so well, God doesn’t tend to go along the normal line, or do what we expect.

Bill McKibben said

“Advent: the time to listen for footsteps – you can’t hear footsteps when

you’re running yourself.”

The theme this week is anticipation. Christmas seems to be filled with a false anticipation as there are people who are disappointed with presents that they open, disappointed with the reaction someone gives to a present, that the family time didn’t quite live up to the hype.

However, we can anticipate that God will work in our lives, and that it will be for good. We need to take this time in advent to put our own agendas and thoughts aside, but to anticipate that God will speak to us, if we take the time to listen.

Challenge: how can you practically take time each day during advent to listen to what God is saying to you?

Prayer: father God, we thank you that you continue to work in our lives today, may we take this advent time to stop, and listen, and welcome you in. Amen