Sunday, May 27, 2012

You Will Receive Power

It's hard to say whether the dreary weather, holiday weekend or the first week of summer hours was responsible for the thin turnout this morning, but those who were here were greeted by a red-themed cross and flowers that brightened the sanctuary. Today was Pentecost Sunday. "If you are a believer in Jesus Christ God has given you His spirit to empower you," Pastor Brad said as he welcomed us.

Announcements today included:
1. Duayne Anderson lost his mom. The memorial service for Virginia Anderson will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church down the road. We need a few volunteers, and also need people to bring bars. Call Ruth Anne for details.
2. We could still use help with food for VBS in June.
3. Baby shower next Sunday for Lisa and Jesse Smith. (It's a boy!)
4. In order for the Bloodmobile to stop here in July we need to have at least 20 people. Let Ruth Anne know if you are planning to donate blood.

After singing a set of beautiful worship songs the offering was taken, followed by a time of prayer.

You Will Receive Power 

Brad began by reading Acts 2:1-21. "Every time I read this page something new strikes me," Brad stated. In preparing this week he was struck by the amount of divisiveness in the contemporary church, much of it due to fuzzy ideas about the Holy Spirit. "Jesus was not vague about the Holy Spirit." In John 16 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I go away….”

Put yourself in the shoes of these disciples. Their lives had been on a treadmill up until this Jesus entered their lives. They spent 3 years following, having given up everything to follow Him, always looking forward to what would happen next. They did not expect it to end this quickly or in this manner.

Here in John 16 Jesus tells them it will better for you to live in the period of the spirit than while I was here with you. This does not seem possible.

One clue as to why it will be better is found in Acts 1:8 where Jesus says, “You will receive power when My spirit comes upon you.” One word that is associated with the Spirit: power. "You will receive power." The disciples were no doubt wondering how it would happen. What would happen if they missed it?

They really didn’t have to worry about it…. Suddenly … like a mighty wind… What an amazing demonstration of power. "The disciples began speaking in languages… Egyptian, because there were Egyptians there, and Greek because there were Greeks there… and Swedish because that was the original language of heaven." (congregation laughs)

It was an amazing event. Peter stood and spoke with such power that 3,000 were saved in that one day. The power of Spirit was demonstrated in that groups at odds with one another were made one. Scripture says that there was such oneness in the community that there was not a needy person among them.

After the Spirit fell, the disciples experienced the power to heal. And the power of changed lives. Peter, who denied Christ, later rejoiced to be beaten for His name.

You will receive power…

For over 2000 years the Holy Spirit has been the fuel for the church. Brad urged us to reverence the Spirit’s power and mystery. 

The Holy Spirit is not our genie in a bottle, nor is He someone who retired 2000 years ago. The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity.

Brad’s prayer for us was that we would align ourselves with what Spirit is doing. Don’t quench the Spirit. Walk with the Spirit. Become a student of the Holy Spirit. Request the Holy Spirit to manifest His power in your life. Earnestly ask.

Brad reminded us of Paul's prayer for the Ephesians: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." 

Why can’t that happen to us here? The power of the Holy Spirit poured out over this place… Ask God to let that wind blow freely. I don't know a lot of things about where it comes from or where it's going, but God, let it rip, let it blow. I know only this one thing: you shall receive power.

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