This devotional is written by Pip Coombs. Pip is married to Matt and they have a son called Caleb.

Acts 1:1-11

Jesus taken up into heaven 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptised with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptised with[b] the Holy Spirit.'

6 Then they gathered round him and asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'

7 He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'


Matt and I went to Vietnam a couple of summes ago summer 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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