Pentecost Sunday prayer

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Prayer for Pentecost

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

We should move from celebrating days to observing seasons

The other day I read a quick thought on missing opportunities of seasons in our lives as Western Christians because we celebrate days instead of walking through seasons.

We get so worked up to prepare a church for Easter weekend services, most bigger church staffs on more than figuratively dead on Monday and in need of some true resurrection themselves. Continue reading “We should move from celebrating days to observing seasons”

The need of the Church

The need of the Church is not some cleansing to make sure we have some very strict doctrinal stance memorized perfectly. Doctrine is important. Teaching is vital. Memorizing something to sound absolutely correct and then demanding that precision accuracy of everyone else is not healthy.

The need of the Church is not beating our one issue social concern drums. Either side (or all the sides) of any issue. Pick it: homosexuality, abortion, drinking, being Republican, being Democrat…  We get so caught up in our one-horse issues we have made it our entire theology and no matter what we read the rest of our theology through that one lens. No matter what that lens may be, it’s just not a very pleasant view after awhile. And it gets distorted badly.

The need of the Church is to listen to the Savior. We’re not very good at listening any more. We don’t listen to each other. And we claim to that our “side” (whatever issue we’re talking about ) is God’s side… and all sides are saying it.

It is evidence that the Bride of Christ has turned into Bridezilla and the Bride is no longer listening to the Bridegroom. Of course, THAT is a very American thing. There are numerous scenes from movies, etc., that show the wife standing there going at someone about what their husband thinks, or she is there talking with someone else about what her husband believes, all while her husband is standing there. He may try to say something, but the bride keeps talking right over him.

We are very American “Christian brides.”

We need more listening and less yapping.

There is such a need to come back to written Word and begin again an odyssey of listening. The written Word is vital. It is the clearest place to begin and then we can train our spiritual ears to hear the Spirit better.

Every significant leading of the Spirit in my life has its roots in my reading of the Scripture. When I’ve sought out any major decision, or made a significant shift in some life issue, it’s begun in the written Word.

Let me say this as well: some significant places where I’ve made the wrong turns in my life have come from ignoring my time in the written Word. It has gone both ways.

It’s not an either/or proposition: “I’m a person of the Book.” OR “I’m a person of prayer.” It’s both/and. We must be firmly established in the written Word AND in prayer, for in prayer we have the power of the Spirit to lead us to specific direction. We need the dynamic leading of the Spirit in our lives. And that comes through the written Word and prayer.

The significant movements of the Spirit in my life as to some very tough issues and how I approach ministry have all arisen out of reading the written Word and then hearing the Spirit speak to me through that Word.

On this Pentecost Sunday, we need a fresh wind of the Spirit blowing through the American Church. We need a fresh touch of the Spirit to stop… and listen… to the Bridegroom speak to his Bride.

 

Resurrection and Pentecost

The call to Christianity is the call to community. It is not a community we get to pick. It is the Kingdom of God. We WANT to pick it, and therein lies the rub. It is probably why we are all so divided all the time. We want to PICK our “neighbors” and the Kingdom of God just doesn’t play that way.

Eugene Peterson in his book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places reminds us of community and the need for the power of the Spirit. The power of the Spirit is the result of the resurrection. The same Spirit which raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. With resurrection power comes the power of the Spirit. In that we also find community.
Peterson says this:
“We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we ‘walk before the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 116:9). The resurrection of Jesus creates and makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit. The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we don’t give much sustained attention to the biggest thing of all, resurrection. And the reason we don’t give much attention to it is because the resurrection is not something we can use or manipulate or control or improve on. It is interesting the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter, the way it has Christmas. If we can’t say, as we say, ‘get a handle on it’ and use it, we soon lose interest. But resurrection is not available for our use; it is exclusively God’s operation.”

Receive the Holy Spirit

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (Jn. 20:21-23, NIV)

 
The resurrection is not about apologetics. It is not about superior reasoning skills so you can debate someone into the Kingdom of God. It is about the POWER of the Holy Spirit. 
 
Jesus breathes on the disciples and declares: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” When we will receive this Spirit we are receiving the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. That is more than apologetics. That is power. 
 
We need this power so we can participate in Jesus’ resurrection life. The power of the Spirit is needed for prayer. It is needed for obedience. 
 
The power of Pentecost is necessary for the resurrected life. 

Prayer for the Day as We Head into Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people and kindle in us the fire of your love.

All who are led by the Spirit are children of God and fellow-heirs with Christ.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people. 

Renew the face of your creation, Lord, pouring on us the gifts of your Spirit.

and kindle in us the fire of your love.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people and kindle in us the fire of your love.