pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


1 Comment

Pentecost People

Reading: Acts 2: 1-11

Verse Four: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them”.

The holy day of Pentecost has gathered Jews from all over the known world into Jerusalem. Jerusalem is also home to the newly formed church that follows Jesus. God uses a very loud sound, something that sounded “like the blowing of a violent wind”, to bring these God-fearing Jews and Jesus-loving Christians together in one place.

As the Jews hear the sound, they are drawn to find the source of this strange phenomenon. At the same time, the Christians are anointed with what appears to be “tongues of fire” that come to rest on each of them. The fire represents the Holy Spirit. It is a physical sign of a spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit is the gift that Jesus promised in Acts One. With the promise of the gift came a responsibility: “you will be my witnesses”. As the crowd of Jews arrives, the believers “began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them”. The believers are witnessing to their faith in the languages of the crowd that is now arriving. People from all over the world hear the good news of Jesus Christ in their native tongues. They were “utterly amazed”.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we too have been blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and have received the same charge to be witnesses. The same power that the original Pentecost believers had is also in us. The Holy Spirit will help us to speak to the non-believers that are all around us as well. If we are willing to allow the Spirit to be at work in our lives, to lead and guide us, we too will have opportunity to witness to those who do not know Jesus Christ. We may not speak in exotic or foreign languages, but the Holy Spirit will enable us, giving us the words of life that a non-believer needs to hear to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This action of the Holy Spirit is just as amazing as the work done that first Pentecost long ago.

To this day we remain Pentecost people. We are people filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. May we faithfully use the gift that God has given each of us to speak words of love and words of hope to our world in need. Holy Spirit, lead us each and every day. Amen.


Leave a comment

Open, Loving, Welcoming

Reading: Revelation 1: 4-8

At times our churches and faith can be private or exclusive is one is not already a member.  Sometimes we do this by using insider language or by expecting guests or seekers to know how we do things or to look and behave just like we do.  Although most churches genuinely work at and desire to be welcoming and inviting, sometimes we are not.  In the same way, most Christians know Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations; we just do not live with this as our primary focus.  We inadvertently put up barriers or fences that in essence keep non-believers and the unchurched outside of our institutions.  On a personal level, we can judge or choose to keep separate from those we see as sinners and unsaved.

If we are truly living as a witness to the love of Christ, we will seek to be more inclusive and inviting and will work to be less judgmental and isolated.  Jesus’ radar was always on.  He was so sensitive to the needs He sensed in people.  Jesus did not allow social or cultural or any other norms to tell Him how to deal with someone.  He simply recognized what they needed and what He could offer and acted accordingly.  Jesus seemed to be friend to all as relationship was the basis of His ministry.  The forming of a relationship so often allowed Him to share Himself to meet their need.

Just as Jesus sought first and foremost to be welcoming and to quickly enter into relationships, so must we as His disciples and as His church.  People need Jesus, not our religion or our churches.  He is who or what we offer.  It is through faith and in the church that people come to know Jesus.  We all need to know His love and the saving grace offered by His blood.  To begin to know Jesus, one must experience Jesus in the love and witness of His followers.  This is what we have to offer.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are privileged to live in His love as we enjoy a personal relationship with the savior of the world.  This relationship is something we are called to share with others.  Our opportunity may come within the walls of the church; it may come out there in the world.  May we be as open, loving, and welcoming as Jesus was as we seek to live as His witness in and through our lives.