This devotional is written by Pip Coombs. Pip is a midwife and is married to Matt.

Acts 1:1-11

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, "Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptised with water, but in just a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."

The Ascension of Jesus
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, "Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?"

7 He replied, "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!"


Matt and I went to Vietnam a few summers ago which is a predominately Buddhist country. Pretty much every shop/restaurant/hotel/whatever has a little shrine where people would leave offerings (money, Oreos, photocopies of playstation games etc.) At the end of our trip we went to a place called Sapa which is a fascinating little mountain town in North-West Vietnam. It’s really high in the mountains, either above or in the clouds. And living among the paddy fields are a number of different tribes who don't really see themselves as Vietnamese but as part of their individual tribe.

Each of these tribes had their own language or dialect and couldn’t communicate with people from the surrounding tribes, even if they were just a mile down the road. If they needed to speak to one another, those who had learned American-English from the tourists translated for them. It was fascinating.

This was one of the most remote places I had ever been.

We were trekking through the mountains for a couple of days and on the second day we heard music being blasted out of some speakers in the distance. We continued walking in the direction the sound until we recognised the tune – it was the old hymn How Great Thou Art. We eventually reached this little tin hut where the noise was coming from and it was crammed full of people praising God. It was an amazing sight. Up in the mountains, above the clouds, among tribes that can’t communicate with one another in their own languages – all are brought together in unity to worship Jesus.

It made me think about the mission set out before the disciples – to some extent the mission has already happened. The very ends of the earth are being reached with the message of God’s saving love in Christ Jesus. Christians whose lives have been turned upside down by the message of the cross and the empty grave have gone to the far-flung corners of the earth proclaiming the truth that Jesus is alive!

But we know that isn’t the full story. We live in a post-Christian country, many of us have friends and family who don’t know Jesus.

It’s becoming increasingly common to meet people who have never even set foot inside a church.

So what are we to do with this call to be God’s witnesses?

Well I don’t think anything has changed – we remain dependant on the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Pray this morning for the Holy Spirit to speak to you about who you can witness to the saving love of God. Ask God to reveal people who you are uniquely positioned to reach. And finally ask to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and courage to go.

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