EBWU Conference - Lisbon, Portugal - 10-13 October 2024

(Acts Ch. 1 v.1-11)

The preacher in Ecclesiastes says "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." "The seasons of life" Is that what those disciples thought as they gazed up to heaven? I very much doubt it. But they were entering into a very distinct season of their lives, and in their experience.

They had been with Jesus, their Master and Lord, for three years and such a roller coaster of a three years. Up and down in experiences, emotions and places. There had been teaching, healing, helping, miracles, disputes with joys, disasters, betrayals, tears, loss and recovery and so much else in Galilee, the Jordan Valley, towns, cities, desert, roads and now Jerusalem entering a season of being in-between. In-between what has been, the known, the fulfilled and the what is to come, the unknown, the
future - vs. 3-5. And this season of in-between can be so difficult and uncomfortable,yet so necessary. Why?

1. We need such a time to let go, and leave behind in order to move on. Think about those disciples and Jesus-lives so entwined, dependent. There was the need to loosen the physical ties, the emotional ties v.11 a and to look down and around to where the future was going to be.

2. We need such a time to rest, be calm, recreated, refocused and to remember our calling, commissioning as children of God just as those disciples did. As Luke tells us in Ch. 24 v. 52-54 they worshipped as they waited - reconnecting with God in love, in God's presence-in the expected place of the Temple and in the unexpected place too.

3. And this time of in-between was also a sign of obedience to God in Jesus Christ who had told them to wait. This command was as valid as a command to action v.4-5. Can they wait? Will they be faithful to Christ in recognising their need of His Spirit or will they dash on in their own strength. The full blast of mission will soon be on them. Wait, this is a season of transition, a gift of waiting. When entering the unknown from the known the disciples and we need the Spirit's especial strength and help, grace and power.

Perhaps for us this is such a time - an interim time of waiting, of transition. For us from NEBWIM it's a few days like the disciples from Ascension to Pentecost, as Jesus leaves the Spirits soon to come. For others it's a year or two on your courses here at IBTS. There are no particular time parameters put on this season of life by Christ,but wait in it as the gift it is, and out of it will come the next breath of the
Spirit and the fire to lead us on.

Carol Murray