Onaway & Millersburg UMC
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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Sermon

 
Be a Faithful Disciple 
 

May 31, 2020
Drive-In Sunday Worship Service

WELCOME & INVITATION TO WORSHIP

CALL TO WORSHIP
We come to worship our Lord! Even though we are having different way to worship.
We surely know the presence of the Lord in this place.
We are here to worship our Lord! Even though we are going though very challenging and difficult time that everything seems uncertain.
We are here to worship our Lord for what He has done for us.
We are here to worship our Lord.
We surely know the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Come, Holy Spirit,
The wind of God, the breath of Life.
Come, Holy Spirit,
Our Advocate, our Counselor.
Come, Holy Spirit,
Teacher of Wisdom, Reminder of Christ.
Come, Holy Spirit,
Granter of forgiveness, giver of peace.
Come, Holy Spirit.
May we feel God breathing through our worship.
May we receive the Holy Spirit in this place. Amen. 

WORSHIP IN SONG                Surely the Presence of the Lord                             328

Surely The Presence of the Lord is in this place.
 I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angels’ wings. I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

OLD TESTAMENT READING                                                 Psalm 104:24-34

PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE

THE LORD'S PRAYER

SCRIPTURE READING                                                                                              Acts 2:1-4

 

1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

MUSICAL RESPONSE                     Spirit of the Living God                                              376

Spirit of the Living God Fall afresh on me;
Spirit of the Living God Fall afresh on me
Melt me mold me, Fill me use me,
Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me

 

MESSAGE                                                                 The Holy Spirit                

As I told you, today is Pentecost Sunday, which is the Church's birthday! There are many things we can celebrate today! We celebrate the first day that we can come to the church and have a service together in a different and special way! Today we celebrate the day the church was born by the power of the Holy Spirit! Today we celebrate the day when God's power exploded through the church and officially began its mission of making disciples.

In today's passage, which is the story of Pentecost and Church's birth, thousands of people were in Jerusalem celebrating the day that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Disciples were gathered together in a house. Suddenly, it happened; wind and fire swept through the disciples and they spoke in other languages that they had never used before. Everybody was amazed and astonished. Many thought a fraternity party was taking place even though it was only 9 o'clock in the morning. In the later part of Acts chapter 2 (I recommend reading this chapter after the service), a huge crowd gathered around Peter as he preached and said, "God has given us the Holy Spirit!" Three thousand people confessed Christ and were baptized. Boom- the church was born! Happy Birthday, Church!

We can't talk about Pentecost and the church's birthday without the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 says, "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit." The church was born when the Holy Spirit descended and filled the believers and the first sermon was preached. Look at the context of their birth celebration: fear and ridicule, because they even didn't know or understand what happened to them. Despite that situation, the believers were enabled to speak to everyone present through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. No matter what you are going through, God’s Spirit enables you to be courageous in sharing your faith. Why? Because of the Holy Spirit.

Then... Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we sense God's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, we say that it's the Holy Spirit at work. In Hebrew, the words for Spirit, wind, and breath are nearly the same. The same is true in Greek. In trying to describe God's activity among them, the ancients were saying that it was like God's breath, like a sacred wind.

Today we continue to experience God's breath, God's Spirit. As one of our creeds puts it, "We believe in the Holy Spirit, God present with us for guidance, for comfort, and for strength" (The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 884).

I think you have experienced agonizing over choosing a gift for your beloved ones- on the person's birthday, special anniversary, Christmas, Mother's day, Father's day and so on. When I started dating JD, he was really bad at choosing gifts. On Valentines' day, he gave me a lamp, with a really simple and plane designed. He said he thought I need a lamp in living room. Yes! That is a really practical gift but I had expected a romantic gift for our first Valentine's day. The other day, on the contrary to that previous case, he gave me a summer purse that was pretty, but too big and heavy. Especially, it was really solid, so it was difficult to move and travel at that time with the purse. Anyway, he got much better as choosing gifts, and now he always gets a gift receipt for me.

I also have made the same mistake, especially when I chose a gift for my mother. She always told me "don't send me clothes! because your taste and my taste are totally different!" So, these days, I send some practical items that she needs rather than sending clothing as a gift. 

Can you guess why I am sharing my stories? We know it is not easy to pick the right and perfect gift that the person really needs and loves; however, Jesus knows what we need and promised the right and perfect gift for us. Jesus promised us that he would not leave us alone and sent the Holy Spirit before he died on the cross, because he knew he would no longer be on earth. Jesus said, "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." (John 14:25-27) The Holy Spirit is meant to be with us at all times to give us courage, strength and comfort, whilst reminding us of Jesus’ glorious teachings.

The Holy Spirit leads our journey of faith and enables our personal holiness. When we read and meditate on the Bible, the Holy Spirit is at work in us to give us wisdom and opens up our hearts to listen to what God tells us though the Scripture. Also, the Holy Spirit helps in our time of prayer; the Spirit lets us know what and how to pray, and often even praying for us: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)."  The fact that the Holy Spirit becomes a guide, a sanctifier, and a sustainer in our faith journey is a huge source of comfort for us.

We sense the Spirit in time spent alone -perhaps in prayer, in our study of the Scriptures, in reflection on a difficult decision, or in the memory of a loved one. The Spirit's touch is personal. But, perhaps we're even more aware of the Holy Spirit in the community of believers. Somehow the Spirit speaks through the thoughtful and loving interaction of God's  people. The Holy Spirit, who brought the church into being, is still guiding and upholding it, if we will but listen.

Considering the history of the church, which is the Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21), the Holy Spirit always helps believers feel the presence of God and gives them the strength to act on their beliefs. Also, whilst reminding us of Jesus' unending love and teachings, the Spirit helps us  love each other and draws us together, becoming one in Christ. I said, the Spirit's touch is personal but it also communal- making us one. 

The Holy Spirit leads us towards blissful oneness in Christ and empowers us to carry out "the thoughtful and loving interaction of God's people." I believe that one of the works of the Holy Spirit in our lives and community is to connect us to one another in hope and love. In today's passage, the gift of the Holy Spirit came in a powerful,  noticeable way with wind and flames! Yet, it’s real impact was on communication and connections. These people were given the gifts of tongues- they were empowered to communicate in the languages of the world. And the visitors from all over the known world were given the gift of hearing- to understand the mighty works of God spoken of by the disciples. It was a surprising, connecting moment for them all.

After this Pentecost, there is a story about the early church breaking bread, attending to the teachings of the apostles, trying to take care of the poor among their midst, and going forth to spread the Good news in the world. It sound like us, CHURCH. It means, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live as Christians, to be one, and to spread the Good New in the world. The Holy Spirit leads our journey of faith and helps our personal holiness and social holiness as followers of Jesus Christ.

God asks us to be filled with the Spirit. After the experience of  Pentecost, Peter said to the people who did not know what to do, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Also, in Ephesians 5:18 it said "be filled with the Spirit." It is God’s command to all believers- to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in other words, we must have a Spirit-filled life.

The Hymn we just sang was Spirit of Living God. The lyrics are "Spirit of the Living God , fall afresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me." That is life that is filled with the Holy Spirit; God's Spirit falls afresh on us as we pray to melt to our own desires, be molded by God's desire for us, to be filled with the loving Spirit of God and to be used by God - in big ways and small. 

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, which is the perfect gift for us, and now the Holy Spirit works in our lives. The Holy Spirit leads and empowers us to become a church and the church- help us our personal holiness and our us our community can be oneness in Christ as well.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, which was the perfect gift for us, and said “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Let's live a Spirit-filled life! It will fill any feeling of emptiness we might have. The Holy Spirit helps our faith journey, gives us the power to live as followers of Jesus Christ and become one with others in Christ, and lets us know God's will for us.

I would like to end my sermon with a prayer for those who would like to lead a Spirit-filled life. If you truly desire to walk in the Holy Spirit, say after me the following prayer written by Bill Bright:

“Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life / and that, as a result, I have sinned against you. I thank you that you have forgiven my sins / through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite you to again take your place / on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit / as you commanded me to be filled. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank you for taking control of my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

OFFERTORY PRAYER

WORSHIP IN RESPONSE                          Spirit Song                                                                    347

Oh, let the Son of God enfold you with his Spirit and his love
Let him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.
Oh, let him have the things that hold you, and his Spirit, like a dove,
will descend upon your life and make you whole.
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.

Oh, come and sing the song with gladness as your hearts are filled with joy.
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to his name.
Oh, give him all your tears and sadness, give him all your years of pain, 
And you'll enter into life in Jesus' name.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.

 

 

SENDING FORTH
Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them
And give them power to be his witnesses.
The Spirit gave them power to tell others about Jesus
And to live the way he taught us to live.
The Holy Spirit also gives us the power to be Christ’s witnesses.
We can tell others about Jesus and how he taught us to live:
Loving God,
Loving our neighbors,
Showing kindness and compassion,
Caring for those who are in need,
Being gentle and loving.
Treating all people with respect.
Every day brings us opportunities to be Christ’s witnesses
In our home, in our community, and in the world.

 

PRAYER OF DISMISSAL & BLESSING