Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; May 24, 2015; Pentecost Sunday

Scripture for Sunday (24 May 2015) are: Ezekiel 37:1-6; Acts 2:1-21

You can read these Scripture here: NIV and ESV

Hymns for Sunday

UMH 368 – My Hope Is Built

UMH 367 – He Touched Me

UMH 539 – O Spirit of the Living God

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Every Pentecost I try to explain and define “the who” and “the what” of the Holy Spirit which results in a doctrinal sermon that even I find boring. Every pastor has written their share of boring sermons and I am not an exception.

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The problem with doctrinal sermons is that they try to fit the Creator of the Universe into a tiny space that we can comprehend; they tame and domesticate our Living God (Lewes). On the other hand, when we allow the Holy Spirit into our collective imagination only God knows what will happen.

In Ezekiel 37:3 we hear, “He [God] asked me [Ezekiel], “Son of man, can these bones live?” I [Ezekiel] said [or replied], “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

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Have you ever had a bad day? Have you ever lived through a terrible period in your life? Have you ever felt so tired and weary that you wanted to just give up? Have you ever felt dead inside? Have you ever felt that you have no strength to face another hour? “Can these dry bones live?” (Eze 37:3).

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And then something happened… You felt a nudge, or maybe someone said a word, or gave you a helping hand or an understanding smile, or a shoulder to lean on, and all of a sudden there was a glimmer of hope.

And that glimmer of hope felt as if you were holding the hand of God.

That touch and that feeling gave you hope and strength to face another hour, and the hours became days, and then all of a sudden things did not look all that bad. Sure, you had just lived through a difficult period, but you had made it through the “valley of the shadow of death.”

That is what happened to the Disciples at Pentecost.

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Fifty days after the Crucifixion, the Disciples were hiding behind closed doors. Neither Romans nor the Temple authorities even bothered with them any longer because they were thought of as too scared and too hopeless to cause any further disturbance.

If we can count on anything, we can count on God. There was the rushing wind that felt as if the breath of God was bringing new life to these emotionally dead people. God’s Spirit brought hope into the hopeless situation, calmed the Disciples’ fears about the future, gave them vision and the energy to work towards that vision. And that vision changed the world.

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It is May 2015. My mailbox is filled with e-mails with attachments that claim that God is no longer relevant, that church buildings are about to close their doors and that the latest research indicates that our pews will remain empty forever because church congregations are given up for dead, tired, aging, losing influence and membership and apparently on their last legs.

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{Illustration of God’s involvement in God’s world from the personal practice of ministry}

I know that there is hope for new life because I see it. God’s breath of life can change everything, inspiring us with hope, energy, and possibility. God’s energy transforms and brings new life. New life means change, and it is change, as much as we don’t like it, that gives vitality and inspires mission (Epperly).

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Pentecost happens in our lives when, after something traumatic or painful, we recognize that life still goes on and that we can honor the past by finding ways to live productive and meaningful lives in the present.

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Pentecost happens in our lives when we recognize that God is always doing a new thing in our lives and among us. Pentecost happens in our lives when we recognize that the accomplishments and disappointments of the past do not define who we are, and that we are capable of being adaptable, flexible and patient because God always has a plan for us. And when we take the time, energy and patience to discern what God is doing and join God, we can accomplish anything we set our hearts on.

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Pentecost happens in every life when we find healing, forgiveness, revival of the soul and transformation after something that has challenged us to the core of our being. Pentecost happens in our lives when we recognize that our history (whether personal or collective) gives us courage to press on and infuses our future with meaning. Pentecost happens in our lives when we realize how our history has shaped who we are today and inspires who we will become tomorrow.

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The Holy Spirit of our God is still “hovering” (Gen 1:2 NIV) and “sweeping” (Gen 1:2 CEB) over all of God’s Creation. The Holy Spirit of our Lord is among us today…. do you feel it? Are you willing to take part in God’s creation process…

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Works Cited

Epperly, Bruce. “Pentecost Sunday – May 24 2015.” 17 05 2015. Living A Holy Adventure. 19 05 2015. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/2015/05/pentecost-sunday-may-24-2015/?ref_widget=trending&ref_blog=ellenpainterdollar&ref_post=itisenough-coalition-on-gun-violence&gt;.

Lewes, Karoline. “Spirit Feelings.” 17 05 2015. Dear Working Preacher. 19 05 2015. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?m=4377&post=3623&gt;.

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