The sermon for August 25th 2019 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Acts 10, I talk about The Holy Spirit.
Here is my commentary on Ephesians 1:9. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site.
“For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will , according to His purpose which He set forth in Christ.”
God has given us knowledge of His will and purpose in Christ.
Knowledge was important to the Greeks and to many in that culture. People still say to this day, “Knowledge is power.”
This applies not just to the human realm but also to the spiritual realm.
The early church faced multiple threats to its theology from groups collectively called Gnostics to whom knowledge was eternal life. There were many Gnostic sects which blended elements of various religious systems, but they had a common thread. The basic belief was that the physical world is evil and the heavens are pure, and we can only be redeemed by secret knowledge (gnosis) which allows us to ascend by a series of intermediaries of which Christ is just one. This knowledge is hidden from ordinary people (mystery), but this teacher or this group will lead you to knowledge and enlightenment.
Paul cuts down that line of thinking by saying God has made known to us these hidden mysteries and His plan and purpose in the person of Christ. We don’t need any more knowledge, wisdom or insight because Christ Himself is the revelation.
The mystery of God’s will is something that Paul writes about quite often. The word mystery means there is something that was in the past secret and unknowable about salvation, but this has now been revealed. The Jewish people had some understanding, but the revelation they had was not complete.
Now in Christ we have the full revelation, the unveiling of the mystery, the explanation of God’s purpose that was hidden for so long.
In Christ we have knowledge; the explanation and description of who God is and how we can be put right with Him.
There is no need for other knowledge, the Gnostic “knowledge”, because we have Christ to show us. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Whoever sees Him sees the Father. Whoever follows Jesus as Lord is granted entry into God’s Kingdom.
In Christ we have full wisdom. The Greeks pursued philosophy which is literally the love of wisdom. Wisdom would give them mastery of themselves and their destiny.
The problem with philosophy is that every team comes up with different answers. One team would say that you must deny the fleshly desires and live a frugal life. Another team would say that the best life is one in which we enjoy every good thing. Yet another team would say that wisdom comes when we learn to patiently endure all things in life whether good or bad.
Jesus’ message is all wisdom. “The Kingdom of God is here. Turn away from your sins and follow me.” This wisdom not only orders our earthly life, but guarantees eternal life to all who will follow Him.
In Christ we have true insight- the word here actually means a frame of reference. Christ sets all of our thinking right. He is the centre of our world-view. Since this is actually God’s perspective, that means that all of our thoughts about ourselves, about God, and about other people now line up with those of the Creator. We have a true world-view, a correct frame of reference, a clear lens through which to view the world around us.
In the past everything was “mystery”, hidden from us and unable to be discerned except through a lens that was distorted and out of focus. Now, in Christ, we see all things clearly.
All of this is according to God’s purpose set forth in Christ. There is a Kingdom that is world-wide in scope, bringing every person under its reign. Jews and Gentiles are to be united in their worship of the Lord and in their work for Him. One race swearing allegiance to Christ.
Christ’s purpose was not just to save some individuals, important as that is, but to bring all things in unity under Him, and then at the end to present it all to the Father.
Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
Two of John’s disciples meet Jesus, and John declares that Jesus is the Lamb of God. The disciples follow Him and remain with Him. One of these disciples is Andrew, who goes off to find his brother, Simon, telling him, “We have found the Messiah.”
The next day, Jesus goes off to Galilee, where He meets Philip and tells him, “Come and follow me.”
There are many ways in which people find Jesus. One of them is when trusted teachers, perhaps a pastor or other father in the faith, explains that Jesus is the “Lamb of God” for us.
Another way is to be introduced to Jesus by a friend or relative. They may not have all the answers, but they know Jesus is the Messiah. In their excitement they share the Good News about Jesus,
Some people find Jesus through a direct call from Him to “Come and follow me.”
Over and over we read in John’s gospel of people testifying to their experience of Jesus, and many people come to faith as a result.
When we think of evangelism it can seem to be a daunting task. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t want to listen? What if they ask questions I can’t answer?
All we have to say is “Come and find Jesus the Messiah.”
Jesus’ message was also very simple. “The kingdom of God is here. Turn away from your sins and follow me.”
We don’t need classes to do this; we just need to do it!
Lord, many people have come to faith through a simple invitation. Help me to be like Andrew and tell people, “I have found the Messiah.” Please show me the people you are already working on, and give me boldness to speak for you. Amen.
Then John gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have baptised him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.”
The Jewish leaders send some priests and Levites to find out if John is the Messiah. He denies bring the one.
Then Jesus comes by, and John testifies that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John says that he saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus, and the Lord had told him that Jesus is the baptiser in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the baptiser In the Holy Spirit,
The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world. He has died to bring atonement- forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
Jesus is also the baptiser in the Holy Spirit. He is the one who makes it possible for us to walk in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) are available to every believer. We can minister to others in the same power that Christ had. Even the Old Testament prophets had nothing like the power that is available to every ordinary follower of Jesus.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are also available to every believer. The fruit produces in us the character of Christ, It is the outward, visible sign of the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a one-off event, but a daily filling, a daily relationship. As the power and grace of the Spirit pour into us, they are meant to overflow into the lives of the people around us, enabling us to be faithful witnesses of Christ.
Holy Spirit fall afresh on me. Let me be so filled with you that everywhere I go, people are touched by your presence. Amen.
Remember the hype a few years ago about “solar roads”? These were roads with embedded solar panels that would generate enough power to save the planet. It seems that, as any engineer can tell you, the real world is a much tougher place than a lab. Things get dirty and wear out so that you $6 million dollars investment in 1 km of road in a cloudy part of France might not be terribly effective.
From Jo Nova
Solar Road, Normandy, France | Credit: KumKum
Would you like to drive slower, add to noise pollution and waste money? Then solar roads are for you:
The original aim was to produce 790 kWh each day, a quantity that could illuminate a population of between 3,000 and 5,000 inhabitants. But the rate produced stands at only about 50% of the original predicted estimates.
Even rotting leaves and thunderstorms appear to pose a risk in terms of damage to the surface of the road. What’s more, the road is very noisy, which is why the traffic limit had to be lowered to 70 kmh.
Despite costing up to roughly $6.1 million, the solar road became operational in 2016.
The 1km road is in Tourouvre-au-Perch, Normandy, France made by Colas.
Leaves fall on the road, then cars grind the leaves on the beautiful polymer surface. The road isn’t angled towards the sun, gets brutally hot, and both reduce efficiency. If the top polymer layer was thicker and tougher, less solar energy would get through. Planting trees beside the road would cool it, but the shade…
Who likes trees anyhow? Not the Greens.
Anna Versai, Technowize, Aug 19th, 2019
The stretch of the road in Tourouvre-au-Perch, Normandy, France was meant to produce about 150,000 kWh a year, which is enough to provide light to up to 5,000 people, every day. Instead, it made less than 80,000 in 2018, and fewer than 40,000 by July 2019.
Translating the Le Monde article, for €5 million in public funds they now generate € 1,450 worth of electricity per year and falling.
Financed by public funds of € 5 million and supported by Colas (Bouygues Group), the subsidiary Wattway aimed to provide the equivalent of the annual consumption of public lighting in a city. of 5,000 inhabitants.
The general director of services of the departmental council of the Orne made his accounts: “The revenue from the sale of electricity produced by the road should bring us 10 500 euros per year, details Gilles Morvan. In 2017, we received 4,550 euros. In 2018, 3,100 euros, and for the first quarter of 2019, we are at 1,450 euros. “
There proved to be several problems with this goal. The first was that Normandy is not historically known as a sunny area. At the time, the region’s capital city of Caen only got 44 days of strong sunshine a year, and not much has changed since. Storms have wrecked havoc with the systems, blowing circuits. But even if the weather was in order, it appears the panels weren’t built to capture them efficiently.
There’s 40 smaller roads like this?
For its part, Colas has admitted the project is a bust. “Our system is not mature for inter-urban traffic,” Etienne Gaudin, Colas’ chief executive of Wattway, told Le Monde. The company also operates 40 similar solar roads, smaller than the one in Normandy.
A solar bike path in the Netherlands works better:
In the Netherlands, a solar bike path has been declared a success. Dubbed the SolaRoad, the bike path is exactly what its name suggests. The electricity generated by SolaRoad is used for various purposes such as traffic management systems, public lighting, households, and electric mobility.
At the beginning of the trial, an energy yield of between 50 and 70 kWh/m2/year was expected. SolaRoad exceeded expectations by yielding 73 kWh/m2/year (first version, built in 2014) and 93 kWh/m2/year (second, improved version, built in 2016).
There were hiccups despite its impressive results. Due to poor weather conditions, a top layer of the solar bike path came off, and a major path had to be shut down.
And this was a year ago. Probably that capacity factor is now 2%.
Dylan Ryan, The Conversion, Sept 2018
One of the first solar roads to be installed is in Tourouvre-au-Perche, France. This has a maximum power output of 420 kW, covers 2,800 m² and cost €5m to install. This implies a cost of €11,905 (£10,624) per installed kW.
While the road is supposed to generate 800 kilowatt hours per day (kWh/day), some recently released data indicates a yield closer to 409 kWh/day, or 150,000 kWh/yr. For an idea of how much this is, the average UK home uses around 10 kWh/day. The road’s capacity factor – which measures the efficiency of the technology by dividing its average power output by its potential maximum power output – is just 4%.
In contrast, the Cestas solar plant near Bordeaux, which features rows of solar panels carefully angled towards the sun, has a maximum power output of 300,000 kW and a capacity factor of 14%. And at a cost of €360m (£321m), or €1,200 (£1,070) per installed kW, one-tenth the cost of our solar roadway, it generates three times more power.
Dylan Ryan is a lecturer in Mechanical & Energy Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University.
Andrew Follet, Daily Caller, October 2016
Despite massive internet hype, the prototype of the solar “road” can’t be driven on, hasn’t generate any electricity and 75 percent of the panels were broken before they were even installed. Of the panels installed to make a “solar footpath,” 18 of the 30 were dead on arrival due to a manufacturing failure. A short rain shower caused another four panels to fail, and only five panels appear to be presently functional. The prototype appears to be plagued by drainage issues, poor manufacturing controls and fundamental design flaws.
Can’t power a whole microwave oven, April 2017
The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.
A great morning with Messy Church, as we enjoyed the story of the Prodigal Son.
Unfortunately, in all the messiness the sermon was not recorded.
There were a lot of heroes in Sydney this week- all of them men.
What feminists and others who blather about “toxic masculinity” or how men can “do better”- whatever that means- fail to recognise is that in an emergency, it is men who get together to protect the community.
It is men who used what was at hand (a milk crate and a chair!) to arrest a deranged man and hold him until the police arrived.
It is usually men who run into burning houses to rescue neighbours and men who grab people out of burning cars.
Yes there are women in the police and fire services who do amazing jobs and are equally brave.
But when somebody goes off their head in a women’s safe space, you had better hope there is a man nearby.