Sermon teaser for Pentecost Sunday

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” [John 7:37-38]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” [Matthew 5:6]

As the body desires relief and satisfaction on a hot summer day, so the soul of a person is longing for refreshment. It’s looking for something that will satisfy its deepest need; its deepest desire. As the body needs that cool glass of water so the soul needs Living Water, and more so; whether a person will admit it or not. They need something and Jesus has the very thing for which they are looking and needing.
We live in thirsty times but many will not drink.
We live in thirsty times but many would rather live with parched months than die to themselves.
We live in thirsty times but united to the Holy Spirit through faith we are satisfied.
May we, as the church turn on the sprinkler of Living Water and forever quench the thirst of the world to the glory of God…

The Pastor -|—

Your Spirit

Holy God,

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon us.
Teach us,
remind us,
show us
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon Your Church.
Make it bold with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Make it firm in it’s faith.
Make it knowledgeable of
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon this nation.
Stir hearts.
Renew minds.
Open eyes to
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
that all who call upon Your holy name
may speak of Your Son, Jesus, with
passion and conviction without backing down. May our Gospel proclamation be done with all grace. May our witness shine brightly with Your love. May forgiveness win the day.

Send Your Spirit today
that we may speak to a culture
that has drifted away from You. May our words and actions engage this culture with love without us conforming to this culture.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God.
Heal us.
Draw us to You.
Raise us up to New Life in Jesus Christ.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God,
and send us out in the name of
Jesus.

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Holy boldness

Happy Pentecost Sunday!

May the Holy Spirit rush into your life and lead you to boldly speak the name of Jesus without holding back.

May the Holy Spirit give you courage to face the world as the world is so much stronger.

May the Holy Spirit remind you what Jesus taught that you may teach others.

May the Holy Spirit lead you to places that you would never dream of going.

May the Holy Spirit be your guide as it did for those first disciples.

Let us pray…

Holy and Mighty God, it is difficult to admit that we are powerless and weak.  It is scary to think we are nothing but sheep in the midst of ravenous wolves. Oh God, restore our hope in you through Jesus.  Strengthen our faith that we may know your peace.  Open our eyes that we may see your power.  And send us forth in your name.  May we not rely on our ingenuity, creativity or intelligence but may we seek your wisdom in order to bring your peace into this world.  Loving God, you are the restorer of creation, not us.  May we be your instruments and give glory to your name.  Now may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, Oh God, our Rock, Redeemer and Restorer, Amen.

God bless you this day and always 🙂

The pastor -|—

Don’t wear red

I saw a question on Twitter this morning that asked:

Are you wearing red today?

To some of you this may seem like a strange question so allow me to put it into context.  Today is Pentecost Sunday (liturgical color: Red).  This is the Sunday when we recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in Acts 2.  A great story of the birth of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit. But I have serious problems with this question and the encouraging of people to wear red today (other than the fact that we don’t encourage people to wear clothing to match other liturgical colors throughout the year).

Think about it:  If you were to visit a church on Pentecost Sunday (not knowing what this day was or forgetting it was Pentecost) and upon entering the church you notice a sea of people wearing red, what would your first thoughts be?

For me I would:
(1) Start to wonder if there was a special celebration going on that I wasn’t invited to. I might be a little leery about going in; thinking I was crashing a party.

(2) Wonder if people were looking at me wondering why I didn’t wear red today. Kind of like going to a Vikings tailgate party and not wearing purple and gold.

(3) Feel like an outsider; not part of the group.  Kind of like wearing a Packers jersey to a Vikings tailgate party.

(4) Feel left out; like I am not wanted in this group…like a Packers fan at a Vikings tailgate party 🙂

(5) Probably not return to that church…because I would not want to feel like this again.

The encouraging of people to wear red on Pentecost (and Reformation Sunday…the other Sunday people are encouraged to wear red) is done in order to give those Sundays a special emphasis; not to isolate visitors.  But it does have that effect.  So I have stopped inviting people to wear red.  If they do…great.  Will I wear my red stole today?  Absolutely.  But I want ALL people to feel welcome.

Think about that today and other Sundays:
~ Are there things that we do in our churches that might cause people to feel like outsiders?
~ Are we truly welcoming communities?
~ When visitors walk into the church do they feel like they are wanted?
~ When visitors attend worship do they feel self-conscience about not knowing the “rules” of the church?

Let’s not become so comfortable that we exclude others.  Make it a point to say “hi” to someone who is visiting and befriend them.  Don’t let your church become an exclusive club but an inclusive family…the Body of Christ.

So don’t wear red today…wear the love of Christ.

edh -|—

Sunday morning prayer – Pentecost Day

Happy Pentecost Day (and Mother’s Day)!

Asking and receiving
Last night, while watching the news, I said to my wife that I had forgotten to pick up some candy at the store when we where there earlier.  The candy basket that I have for my children’s lessons was nearly empty…not enough for the kids on Sunday.  So I started thinking that if I got going early enough, I could stop at the store on my way out to Belmont for worship.  The problem was that there was no guarantee I would remember to stop at the store.  Well…this morning when I went up to the sanctuary to prepare for worship; there on the counter in the sacristy was my children’s lesson basket…filled with candy.  Wow…ask and you shall receive.  "Thanks, God."

A realization
I realized yesterday that I must be pretty serious about this marathon I am going to run in October.  Yesterday (Saturday, May 10) was to be my 9 mile run day.  My day was already pretty busy so my window of time to run was fairly small, but when it came time to run it was raining lightly.  Since I didn’t have time to wait I still got ready and ended up running in the rain for a few miles.  I guess I AM serious about this running thing.  And you know…it was kind of nice (in a weird sort of way) to run in the rain.

Prayer
Today we recognize and celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit to those first disciples and to us.  We thank God for His presence in our lives.  We thank Jesus for not leaving us orphaned.  We thank the Holy Spirit for the gift of faith.  But let us not forget to thank our mothers today.  But don’t forget those women (who may not be "mothers") for playing a motherly role in your life (or the lives of others).  They deserve thanks as well.  So with all that in mind, let’s pray…

Good, gracious and loving God, you came to those first disciples on that first Pentecost Day in power and authority.  You gave them courage to boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus dying and rising that we may live.  They announced forgiveness.  They announced Truth.  They proclaimed life.  Lord God, we pray for that same boldness; for that same Spirit to fill our hearts so we may be courageous in a world that demands much from us.  We pray for courage so others may come to know you through our words and deeds.  And, God…we thank you for loving us through mothers, whether they be biological or others who serve as a mother for us.  Mothers are indeed a gift from you.  Thank you, God.  We pray this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord…Amen.

God bless and take care!
-edh-