Prayer for the Week

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation: Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Receive the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday | May 31, 2020

Acts 2:1-21 • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b • 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 • John 20:19-23

John 20:19-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Prayer for the Week | Pentecost

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for Pentecost

cropped-pentecost-front.jpgO God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Pentecost

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Day of Pentecost (May 20, 2018)

Acts 2:1-21  •  Psalm 104:24-34, 35b  •  Romans 8:22-27 •  John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Romans 8:22-27 New Living Translation (NLT)


This Sunday is Pentecost. In recent years, churches have celebrated Pentecost by throwing a party and in many ways, Pentecost needs to be celebrated, because it really is the birthday of the church universal.  Many Jews were in Jerusalem – 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. It was the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of the First Fruits.  Jesus had told his disciples, which numbered at least 120 to tarry (or to stay) in Jerusalem until the promised gift arrived.  During the Feast of Weeks, the disciples were gathered in an upper room (I wonder if it was the same upper room where Jesus had his last meal with the 12,) and they were praying.  As they were praying, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they – as Jesus promised – became witnesses to the power of God and they told their story – in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world.  

For our text today, I want to focus on the last two verses in our reading for today. The reason for celebrating Pentecost in our culture today is because of the work of the Holy Spirit.  Listen to what Paul writes:

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Have you ever been in the place where you know you are to pray, but you don’t know what or what for?  It is the Holy Spirit who works in our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend that the Holy Spirit would take our random thoughts and pray to the Father – intercede to the Father on our behalf.  Without that, living the Christian life would be difficult at best.  As I think about it, I know that I need a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I think all of us need it – because we leak.  Today, as we celebrate Pentecost, let us pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

When We Were Utterly Helpless

blindfolded-1732539_640Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 18, 2017)


Romans 5:1-8  New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.


If I’m not mistaken, we are picking up in Romans, right where we left off before Lent and Easter.  The reason I say that is that I remember writing about being made right in God’s sight through faith.  Again a reminder that Paul did not write with chapters and verses – it was one long letter.  He gets done telling us that we are made righteous with God through faith and then goes into today’s passage. Because we are made right with God through faith, we can have peace.  Whoa!  (and I say that in a good way.)

I’ve come to this passage many times because it reminds us just how great God’s love is for us.  We are reminded that we can have peace in our hearts because of the work that Christ Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection.  Because of our faith, we are in a unique place – it is a place of grace – it is a place of undeserved privilege.  Because of our faith, we know that we will be able to share in God’s glory.

Here Paul reminds us of why we go through trials and why we suffer.  It’s a passage I’ve quoted many times.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Trials help us develop endurance.  As a runner, I have been relearning this endurance thing.  This winter in Eldred was tough and I lost much of the endurance that I had just regained back in the fall.  Finally my body is starting to respond.  Endurance takes time to develop.  We need to have perseverance. The old saying goes “Rome wasn’t born in a day.” Things take time. We live in an instant society.  Trials help us develop endurance. Endurance produces strength of character – we need people – we need believers who have a strength of character. Strength of character then strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  See the progression…God dearly loves us. He gave us Jesus to save us from our sins and we have the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

How great is God’s love – Paul tells us when we were utterly helpless – when we couldn’t even help ourselves – much like a little baby is after it is born – completely dependent on its parents.  This is what we were like before Christ – completely helpless.  When we were completely and utterly helpless – Christ came and died for each one of us – all 7 billion people on the planet now and everyone who died before.

We are reminded that Christ came to die for us, not because we were good – but because we were sinners. We know that we would have a hard time dying for someone who didn’t deserve it – we wouldn’t like dying for someone who was worthy of dying, but Christ, in his great mercy died for us…He took our place. He didn’t wait until we got our act cleaned up. No, we were too helpless for that.  He came when we were sinners.

The sacrifice that Christ made, makes us right in God’s sight through faith – it saves us from God’s condemnation – and it restores us back to the relationship with God that was designed in the Garden of Eden – Christ was the second Adam.  Because of Christ’s work, we can be friends of God – and we can rejoice in this wonderful new relationship!

Prayer for the Week

cropped-pentecost-front.jpgAlmighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Pentecost

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Day of Pentecost (June 4, 2017)


1 Corinthians 12:3-13 | New Living Translation (NLT)

3 … No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.


This week is literally a Red-letter day in the history of the church.  As we look at the church calendar, there are several key events.  The first key event is Jesus’ incarnation.  We celebrate that a Christmas.  Jesus was God in the flesh and he came to dwell among us.  The second key event happened at Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus.  His death and resurrection made a new way for us – we who were separated by the fall of Adam and Eve.  Jesus Christ was the second Adam and he paid the price for our sins and freed us from the power and chains of sin.  

There is one last event and that is the one we celebrate this Sunday.  It is when the Spirit of God – what we call the Holy Spirit came in power.  It is when the Church was born.  Jesus Christ now dwells within us through the power of his Holy Spirit.

The story of the coming of the Holy Spirit is found in Acts 2.  If you click on the link above you can go to it. However, this cycle through the lectionary, we are looking at the Epistles.  That brings us to 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13.

One of the things that this passage brings out is that the human body has many parts.  Paul reminds us that so does the body of Christ.  He even goes on to tell us that some are Jews and some are Gentles – some are slaves – some are free.  That is one of the amazing things about the body of Christ – we are not all the same – and if we were – some of us would be unnecessary.  God has given us a diversity of gifts through the Holy Spirit.  My personal opinion is there are more gifts of the Holy Spirit than listed… One of the things that we have listed here are some of the gifts of the Spirit – here is the important part. These gifts of the Spirit are given by the Spirit, that is the Spirit is the source of them all.  I love how Paul puts it, “There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

I often think of how sometimes people want all believers to be the same – as if we all need to be the same to be in unity.  I believe that we can be unified, even in our diversity. Look at the list of spiritual gifts listed by Paul – again Paul says these spiritual gifts are given so we can help each other:

  •  Wisdom
  • Message of special knowledge
  • Great Faith
  • Healing
  • Miracles
  • Prophesy
  • Discernment
  • the ability to speak in unknown languages
  • The ability to interpret unknown languages

Again I think this is a short list and there are others.  The important thing to remember is that it is the one and only Holy Spirit that distributes them and these gifts should be used to support the body of Christ.  Why? Paul concludes this passage by saying, “We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit and we all share the same Spirit.”

The power of the Holy Spirit comes upon the life of the believer so that the body of Christ may be lifted up and that men and women and boys and girls will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.