Open Before God
Weekly Update for Week Starting April 14th, 2018
Hello Church Family!!! I really missed being at Saturday Service this last week. I love being in the presence of those who long to grow in their relationship with Christ. I was at a good friend's wedding and it was powerful to see their commitment before the Lord and them starting their marriage off right by making it all about Him.
This week is bringing with it some very fun things! We have the Business Meeting this Saturday and the Tea Party this Sunday (details will follow below.) Also, we will be sharing Pastor Dan's sermon from this past Saturday if you missed it or just wanted to go over it again.
We hope this update is helpful for you. If you think we should add something to the weekly blog please let us know at email@example.com. We want this to be a great resource for you.
It's business time!!!! April 21st(this Saturday) we will be going over the financial health of our church as well as logistical decisions our church is going through and our plan for the coming year(s). Not only that, we will also be hearing testimonies from the past year of what God has done throughout our church. These meetings always make me feel a lot more involved in our church and let me see a little behind the scenes to know how my church is doing.
We will also be ratifying our new church council members as well. If you would like to know how you become a voting member of the church, please let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello Parkland Ladies! Katie Donohoue is, once again, going to be hosting a very virtuous and posh tea party at her lovely abode! If you are a lady and you would like to attend please contact Katie Donohoue at (253)841-1346. (If you have any friends you would like to invite... Please do. Just let Katie know ahead of time to prepare. Thanks!)May the tea taste well upon thy taste buds. Ta-ta!
If you recently welcomed a little one into this world (or have never dedicated your child) and would like to dedicate your baby(child) to the Lord at our church please contact us at email@example.com. We will be having dedications throughout May and we would like to make sure we get a date that works best for you and your family!
We want you! We need help. Teams for greeting, security, provision of treats, announcements, and set up/tear down are forming and we need interest. Please let us know if you wanna get plugged into these groups. We always need help with kid's ministry as well. So... Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Don't be shy!
If you have any questions or comments about the announcements please comment below or let us know by email at email@example.com.
Pastor Dan's Sermon
Acts 2:5–13 ESV
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Thousands of Jews from all over the known world gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit poured out on the 120 gathered in one place, the thousands who were scattered throughout Jerusalem heard a sound that drew all them to where the disciples were when the Holy Spirit poured out. Acts 2:6 tells us “And at this sound the multitude came together”
This is one of the loudest passages in scripture. This passage describes two sounds. First, in Acts 2:2 “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” Then in Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
One thing is clear, The Holy Spirit was drawing people to one place to hear the mighty works of God. This was certainly a magnificent display of the Holy Spirit. You can imagine the commotion as everyone was running to the noise and attempting to assess what the sound was and what had caused it. Acts 2:6-8 explains the emotional response the crowd had as they assessed the situation
“…and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
“To show us the extent of this miracle, Luke lists some of the distant places from which people in that multitude had come. There were Parthians, Medes and Elamites (Iran), Mesopotamians (Iraq), Judeans (Israel), Cappadocians (central Turkey, eastern part), people from Pontus (northern Turkey), Asia (western Turkey), Phrygia (central Turkey, western part), Pamphylia (southern Turkey), Egypt, and as far west along the North African coast as the city of Cyrene in Libya. There were visitors from Rome, both Jews and Gentiles who had converted to Judaism, people from the island of Crete to the west and Arabia to the east. Yet all understood what the disciples were saying because each person heard them speaking in his or her native tongue. And what they heard them saying was praise to God. They were declaring the great things God had done.” - Steve Schell
Today the Spirit is still pouring out on hearts, cities, families, churches and places of work in miraculous ways. When the Spirit manifests it can come in grandiose fashion, like on the day of Pentecost. Sometimes when the Holy Spirit is getting our attention we may experience a new sensation or miracle as the Spirit works on drawing us closer to Jesus. When the Spirit is doing something new, because it is unfamiliar it can be bewildering at first as we try to understand what God is doing. Lets look at how Mary in the bible responded to a supernatural encounter with the angel Gabriel:
Luke 1:26–38 ESV
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary was not expecting the angel to show up to her, nor did she understand why Gabriel was coming. But because mary was open to God she did not reject the message of God because she didn’t understand, but instead allowed God to speak and confirm it was indeed a word from the Lord.
The key to these supernatural encounters with God is how we respond to a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
“If God is indeed trying to get my attention, even if it is unfamiliar—I want to have an open and soft heart not a critical spirit.”
We see two responses to the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost:
” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
1. One group while perplexed and amazed sought understanding saying, “what does this mean”
2. Others Mocked the work of the Holy Spirit and quickly tried to come up with a natural explanation “They are filled with new wine”
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts 1. The Miracle of Pentecost (2:1–13)
The miraculous is not self-authenticating, nor does it inevitably and uniformly convince. There must also be the preparation of the heart and the proclamation of the message if miracles are to accomplish their full purpose. This was true even for the miracle of the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost. The Greek of v. 12 indicates that “all” of the “God-fearing Jews” (v. 5), whose attention had been arrested by the signs at Pentecost and whose own religious heritage gave them at least some appreciation of the miracles, were amazed and asked, “What does this mean?” Others, however, being spiritually insensitive only mocked, attributing such phenomena to drunkenness. All this prepares the reader for Peter’s sermon, which is the initial proclamation of the gospel message to a prepared people.
Here for the first time appears a motif that runs throughout Luke-Acts—in itself, without the element of personal faith and experience, even the most profound aspects of the good news are not self-confirming but can lead to skepticism and even rejection (cf. Luke 24:11; Acts 17:32; 26:24).
Our hearts must be open and tenderized to receive the Holy Spirit.
These people are devout Jewish men who mock the disciples. They are religious who do all the “things” but yet do not recognize a genuine move of God. They have memorized much of the Torah, They know the Old Testament prophecies. They know God but some don’t have a soft heart to receive God even though God is moving in such overt and miraculous signs.
How do we cultivate a sensitive heart now so that when we do encounter a perplexing miracle we respond in faith not skepticism?
1. Be led by His Word.
a. If we allow the Word to form our hearts we become vessels that align with the Spirit. When the Spirit moves our hearts are not offended.
b. Jesus says: Blessed is He who is not offended because of me.
2. Respond to the “small things”
a. Thomas needed to touch Jesus to believe, Jesus responds with an amazing truth, “Blessed is He who believes and does not see”
b. Do you need signs to trust God or can you believe now?
c. Have you stopped to thank God for what He is doing already?
3. Celebrate when others are blessed.
a. Not seeking signs for your own personal advancement but the advancement of God’s kingdom
b. If you hear about a genuine move of God in a church down the road or another ministry. Do you respond with gratitude and praise?
The invitation still stands for prayer requests for those who would like others to stand with them in prayer. Please let us know if you have any specific requests and we would love to add them here or to have them shared with leadership. Please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or comments, please comment below or email us at email@example.com.
I really hope you have a wonderful week. Let's all pursue God with all of ourselves. Lord help us. We need You to live holy and righteous lives. We don't want to live apart from You. You give meaning to it all. Come close and abide in us. Amen.
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