Ascension Day

Ascension of the Lord | May 30, 2019

Acts 1:1-11 • Psalm 47 • Ephesians 1:15-23 • Luke 24:44-53

Luke 24:44-53 New Living Translation (NLT)

44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.

49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

Today is Ascension Day – 40 days since Easter – 10 days before Pentecost. Jesus had gathered his disciples on the Mount of Olives and gives them some parting instructions. This event is important enough that Luke records it both in his gospel of Luke and in the first chapter of Acts.

(The first version of this didn’t post – so I’m trying again.)

There are three things that Jesus mentions in these final words – the Gospel of Jesus – that he would suffer, die, and then rise again on the third day; That He was giving authority to the disciples to proclaim this gospel; thirdly, he told them that they would be able to proclaim this gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As Paul writes in Ephesians:

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 1:19-20

It was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus received His power while here on earth. Remember Paul also tells us that Jesus humbled himself to the point of being a slave – with no power – even obedience in death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8.) It was the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead. We are told that the same power that raised Christ from the dead also dwells in us. Jesus told His disciples that unless He went away, the Holy Spirit couldn’t come. This Holy Spirit would dwell in the hearts of all his people. It is this Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead that gives us power to be witnesses to the story of Jesus. Jesus tells his disciples:

46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’

Luke 24:46-47

Jesus wants the people who call themselves Christians – or Christ-followers to be witnesses to the power and authority of the Gospel. When ministers are ordained, they are commanded to:

take authority to preach the Word of God, to administer the holy sacraments, and to perform the duties of an ordained minister in the Church.

On the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave this authority to everyone who was a witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even though we are now many generations removed from that moment – through the power of the Word (Jesus) we have been given authority to do the same – in the same power that raise Jesus from the dead. So what are we waiting for?

Memorial Day 2019

Last night in commemoration of Memorial Day, we watched the National Memorial Day Concert. It was the 30th anniversary of the concert which is held on the West Lawn of the Capitol building in Washington, DC. I always find it a little disconcerting to hear the words, “Happy Memorial Day.” Today is a day of remembrance – not a celebration. Here in a few moments, we will be getting ready for the Eldred Memorial Day parade. In out town they close down Main Street – the only through street – and we honor those who have paid a great sacrifice for our country – so that we might be free.

Following the parade there is a short ceremony behind the Elementary School. It is all very moving to remember those who died in service to their country. So, today, let’s pause and reflect and remember.

Sunday Night Thoughts

It’s hard to believe that it is the last Sunday of May. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I didn’t realize until today that the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix are often held on the same weekend, as is the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte.

Tomorrow our church will have a float in the Eldred Memorial Day Parade as we remember the fallen. We had a float last year and many have told us how much they appreciated our church being involved. I have been working on getting everything ready for that this afternoon. Once I get done with this, I will finish up.

The summer-like weather has arrived, but we have also had cool weather over the last week. This past week I ended up driving many van miles for the various schools. I was also trying to get the grass cut, but between my schedule and the rain, it was tough.

Yesterday I was honored to be ask to be part of a memorial service for a pastor that had died a few weeks ago. I was asked to be part of the worship band and played acoustic and electric. It’s been several years since I have played in a full worship band, so that was cool. The service did a great job at celebrating the life of Rev. Fred Moore. I was glad that I was part of it.

This week, I need to get ready for our local church conference, which will be next Sunday. On Wednesday, I get a chance to present our ministerium scholarship to a local student at the school’s awards ceremony.

I think once we get past next Sunday, things will slow down a bit for the summer. We did have a good service this morning. I preached about John Wesley and his Aldersgate experience. That’s about all I have. Have a great week.

Prayer for the Week

Sixth Sunday of Easter

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running Update

There are days that running feels more like the picture above. Today was one of those struggle days. Although as I moved into the final mile, something clicked – it didn’t feel any better but my stride improved and my pace went down. Most of the rest of the run my legs felt like lead.

My goal mileage wise for May is 108. This would tie last May, but I am currently at 68 miles. 40 miles by next Friday would be a stretch at best. However, if I stick to an alternate plan, I can at least come up with 30 to 32 miles, which would take me to 100. I would be happy with that.

This week I was able to complete 22 miles – 16 running and 6 walking, and all of those miles since Thursday. Maybe that’s why I was a little sluggish. That about wraps up this week’s update. Pressing On!