The Lord sends the Spirit

We lived through Hurricane Sandy. We know what the rush of a violent wind sounds like. It certainly gets your attention! Such a wind, accompanied by tongues of fire dancing among and resting upon the disciples, along with the ability to speak in a language not their own – well, that got the whole city’s attention.

The great commission begins. Notice:

  1. The disciples were all together. The community created by a relationship with the living Christ is important for the sharing of the Good News. Remember that your witness to God’s love and power is made strengthened by your union with fellow believers.
  2. It is God who initiates and displays the power. The disciples were just the channels through which God spoke the good news. For the most part, they were unlearned Galileans. The only explanation of their ability to speak a foreign language was the power of God’s Holy Spirit. (not wine!) They were in the right place at the right time, aka obedience. Jesus had asked them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They did and wonders followed. Remember that it your part to faithfully obey God’s words and it is God’s part to empower you to share his love.
  3. God speaks your language. It was an amazed crowd that gathered to witness the event, but it was to individuals that God communicated the gospel in a language known only to them. God makes sure the message of salvation is spoken in a unique way that each and every person can grasp. Remember that God communicates his love and power to you in a personalized language only you can understand. Listen for it.

Acts 2:1-16

Written for Community Bible Church’s weekly devotion.

Journeying with the Spirit -part 8 of 8

Friends, we stand on the edge of the unknown. The official completion of our journey together as Companions in Ministry, in many ways, brings us to the end of the mapped world. Our next steps are into an uncharted and uncertain frontier. How can we find our way through this wilderness?

Thank God we have an inner compass, an internal north star that will guide us.

We will never venture far off course if we follow the Spirit. The Spirit will always lead us into greater life, and an increase of justice, mercy and humility.

And as we follow the Spirit, the churches we lead will march with us and maybe before us into the greater Kingdom of God.

Our charge, paraphrased from 1 Peter 5:1-4:

Now, as a pastor among you  And one who can testify to the crucified love of Christ, as well as the glory of the resurrected Christ, I exhort you, my fellow pastors, to companion the flock of God that is in your charge.

Exercise this authority not because you have to, but because you want to; not to get, but to give away. This would please God. Companion your flock, not by being an expert, but by being an example.

And when the chief Shepherd, the best Companion appears you will win, not earn, the crown of glory that can never be taken away.

Let’s choose life. Let’s journey with the Spirit. Amen.

Address delivered at closing service of Companions in Ministry in 2007 by Debby Bellingham. Companions in Ministry was a two year experiment in allowing clergy to gather quarterly for encouragement and education hoping to stave off clergy burnout.