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; June 11, 2017; Presence of the Holy in the World Around Us

Last week we celebrated our graduates. Because of that we did not spend much time talking about the Pentecost and about the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit.

On June 11, 2017, we will talk about the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the world around us.

Scriptures for this Sunday: Acts 2:1-6; Matt 28:16-20

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV and ESV}

Hymns:

# 117:  O God, Our Help in Ages Past

# 95: Doxology (sang after the offering received)

# 57: O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

# 261: Lord of the Dance

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Darci Lynne Farmer is a 12-year-old from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who recently appeared on America Got Talent. She has a ventriloquism act; when she was 10, she saw a ventriloquist in her church and the way she puts it, “something clicked and I said, ‘I want to do that.’” That “something that clicked” – and I believe it was God – helped Darci Lynne to “find her voice and to come out of her shell.”

After her performance, Howie Mandell said, “I believe you will go far. You just changed your life, young lady.” Symon Cowell, another judge, said, “I will not remember the act that was on stage before you in an hour. I will remember you in a week, a month, and a year.”

{You can see a segment from America Got Talent featuring Darci Lynne Farmer hereCLICK ME

here is the http link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paIYpech9pY

//}

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Today we heard how the Holy Spirit of our God – God’s presence with us – came down at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-6). We know that this was the event that drastically and fundamentally changed and transformed the lives of those who were gathered around the place where it happened. As a result, unexpected things began to happen and the course of history was changed by those who recognized the Holy Spirit and welcomed the transformation. When the believers encountered the Holy Spirit, they did not know what was going to happen next. What the Church became in the future depended on what they were going to do next.

At this time we do not know what will happen to Darci Lynne Farmer, who I mentioned earlier. I hope and pray that her talent and her art will be a blessing to all who see her perform.

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The truth is that the experience of God in our lives tends to be unpredictable, challenging, changing, and transforming in nature. For Darci Lynne it was seeing a ventriloquist in her church. She performs a lot and I am sure that she practices a lot; in addition to talent it takes discipline and perseverance to be that good.

My personal experience supports that. When I experienced God for the first time, my life was radically transformed. It did not happen overnight; for me it took a long time. I discovered that salvation is not for wimps. The Holy Spirit brings change! Some of that change is welcome, some not, but change means a disruption of routine and habit; change stretches us and challenges us to do things that we are not comfortable with. I learned that being a Christian is not about things we should or shouldn’t do; I learned that being a Christian is not just about being nice. I learned that being a Christian is not about being “special” – some of our sisters and brothers use words like “elect” or “predestined.” I am – and so is everyone of you – a sinner saved by God’s Grace.

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In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20, there is a sentence, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (verse 20b).

To me that sentence means that being a believer and a follower of Jesus is about seeing the beauty of Creation in all things and taking part in it by living, loving, and being. It is about embracing our history, our personal past, our joys as well as our pain and suffering and transforming all of that into a new vision and eventually a new life.

Biblical narratives are full of stories that testify that we can trust the Spirit to be at work around us, and our experiences validate that.

The Holy Spirit blessed Darci Lynne Farmer with a talent, and I hope that she uses it to glorify God and to be a blessing to her neighbors. We have people in these pews who are passionate about teaching. We have people in these pews who are passionate about engineering. We have people who are passionate about animals. This is not an all-exhaustive list, but the point that I am making is that we see the Holy Spirit of Our God moving among us, blessing us to be a blessing.

{Illustration: Chapel Street Players Theater}

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That brings me to the next point. We all have a story of how God touched and blessed us. We all have a testimony of how God changes our lives, how God continues to help us to find our voice and to come out of our shells. Those moments change the direction and trajectory of our lives. We remember those moments weeks later, months later, and even years later.

All of us have experienced “pentecost” times in our lives. We experience “pentecost” in our lives when we recognize that our Living God IS the God of renewal. If we want to discover new horizons or to accomplish something that we have never done before, if we want to open new doors and explore new paths, we need to try different things. Our personal “pentecost” is that moment of realization that there are new doors and opportunities waiting for us, and by God’s Grace we have the ability to reinvent ourselves and when we are with God all things are possible.

God is still active in the Creation and God is active in our lives. What the Church will become in the future and what Kingswood United Methodist Church will become in the future depends to a large extent on what we will do, how we interact with the Holy Spirit and how we discern what God is doing in the world around us, and how our stories and testimonies project God’s presence in this community.

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