Sermon 06/14/20: You Need … To Wait for the Spirit (Pentecost II)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 06/14/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Our call to worship is to pray the Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN Josh Turner – Great Is Your Faithfulness (Live From Gaither Studios)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31ymVm-6YIw


A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Sweet, Sweet Spirit (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QZZtmhu3kc

MESSAGE: You Need … To Wait for the Spirit
Text: Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 24:45, 49, Acts 1:4-8
Pastor David O. Kueker
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqXc2XvtfCM

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Easter is when God begins to change our world, and we begin to leave, lead, and live a new life. Matthew chapter 7 verse 7 reminds us of what’s important. It’s a beautiful promise. Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be open to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

As we’re beginning this new time of living after Easter, I think that applies perfectly to this time when we’re trying to figure out what the church is going to be like, because certainly after us sheltering in place, the church is coming back to life, coming back to public visibility in the same way that Easter brought Jesus back, but then he took 50 days to get the church ready to be the church visible in the eyes of other people. I think God can teach us something from how Jesus got the church ready so that we can get ready. We can get ready now for how to be the church after the season of sheltering in place.

The first thing, if you’ll remember back, Thomas needed something in order to believe, and I think the lesson from that is that if you need something in order to believe you need to ask for it because what he found out is that when he asked, Jesus Christ was right there to give him what he needed. Whatever you need, ask for it and let Jesus respond to your asking.

Last week we talked about how the truth gets very elusive and confusing in our world today, and I reminded you that no matter what the news says, if you want to know what the truth is about the way God made our world to be, you can find the truth in the words of the bible. Jesus said, “Seek, and you shall find.” Well, if you’re looking for the truth, if you’re looking for instructions, if you’re looking for help to know what to do or how to live, look in the bible. And if you seek it there, I know you will find what you need to hear.

In the scripture, the very first thing the disciples did when they were face to face with Jesus at the day of this ascension, they asked him if it was time for God to restore the kingdom to Israel. In other words, to get rid of those lousy Roman politicians. Friends, if you don’t like politicians, you should know that nothing is different today than it was 2,000 years ago. But they looked at Jesus, and they said, “When, when oh Lord, will we be set free?” And the answer that Jesus had for that is, “It’s not for you to know the time for that question.”

And it’s probably because Jesus had another question to answer. I would put this question that they’re asking as, “When will God be ready?” And Jesus says, “God will be ready soon, but you have to wait.” The specific verse says, “Wait for the promise of the father. Wait until God’s time. Wait for God to act.” And you know, ask, and seek. Remember what the next one is? Knock. Interesting thing. you knocked on the door. It may take a while for somebody to come, but if you keep knocking, within several days, someone will come to the door. Sometimes we need to wait for God’s timing, and if we keep knocking, the door will open.

Acts chapter 1 verse 4. Jesus says this. While staying with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the father, which he said, “You heard from me for John baptized with water, but before many days, you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So when they had ask him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel, get rid of those Roman politicians?” Jesus says, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has fixed by his own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The second thing that he did, and we talked about this briefly last night, all those with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, asking Jesus for what they needed I believe they also took time to talk about the stories of Jesus. Where as now we would simply be able to open the bible to read them, but they did these things all with one accord, together with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Verse 15 says, “There were 120 in the upper room.”

On Easter Sunday, Jesus helped this to happen. As it says in Luke 24:45 that, “He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Verse 49, “And behold I send the promise of the father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And as Jesus rose up in to heaven, verse 52, “They return to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Friends, waiting is hard. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the famous marshmallow test. You put a little kid in a room, and in front of the little kid, you put one marshmallow, and you say, “If you can wait for just a few minutes, and not eat your marshmallow, when I come back, I’ll give you two marshmallows.” And they have a video camera rolling, and they just have these astonishing pictures of the frustration of children as they try not to eat that marshmallow. It is hard to wait. It is hard to delay gratification although as they’ve repeated this test over the last 40 years, children are beginning to have more patience. When they track those same children down through the years, the children who are able to wait, they get better grades, they do better in college, they do better in life, they do better in their careers, their marriages last longer because they’ve learned to delay gratification and not demand that they get what they want right now.

Friends, it is not easy to wait. If you saw the Facebook page this morning, you saw there’s a picture of a dog with the dog biscuit right here on the dog’s nose. With regard to us getting back in the church, I feel a little bit like that dog. I want God to tell me it’s time and it’s okay. I want everything I want but good things come when we’re able to wait. Ecclesiastes chapter three, for everything, there’s a season. A time to wait, a time when everything is ready, a time for every matter under heaven. Waiting is worth it.

Imagine with me, a woman expecting a baby. Waiting is worth it. Babies take nine months. Some come a little early, some take a little longer, but you want the baby to come at the right time. There is a time to be born and waiting is worth it. There is a time for us to die. Most of us don’t want to be in a hurry to get to that day. It’s worth it to wait.

Those of you who plant a garden, you know the sprouts begin to come up but you need to wait until they’re fully grown. There’s an old story about a little boy who asked his grandpa, “Why can’t we dig them up now?” The answer is, because there’s not anything there yet. It takes time and we need to wait. Good things happen when we wait. Waiting is worth it.

The disciples had to wait for the resurrection. But that’s not the first time people waited. People waited thousands of years for Christmas to come. They waited two more years for the wise men to arrive. Noah and the animals on the boat waited for the rain to stop, for the water to go down. Waiting is worth it. Because as we talked about last week, God has a plan and it’s a plan for good and not evil. It’s a plan about peace, to give us a future and a hope but we have to wait. We have to wait for the spirit.

I now like to change the subject and go to one of my favorite things to talk about and that’s time management. I’d like to take a second to tell you about a time management system for people who are not very organized, maybe that’s somebody here. It’s called autofocus. Autofocus is the brainchild of a British retired military man by the name of Mark Forster and with autofocus, you get yourself a cheap spiral notebook and you take your pen out and you write down in the notebook everything you have to do, page after page after page. It doesn’t matter how long you write things out– you may have 100 things. You may have 200 things. If you’re really disorganized, you may have 300 things but if everything’s on the page, nothing can fall through the cracks.

But then here’s the genius of autofocus, you take your notebook once a day and you look down through it for the task that you are eager and excited to do because the theory is if there’s a job on that list and you don’t want to do it, it’s probably because you’re not ready. If you don’t want to do it, there’s probably a reason. Maybe you only know that reason in your subconscious mind but something just tells you it’s not time yet.

Well, go right past all the things where you should wait and look for the ones to where it seems like God is shaking you and saying, “That’s the one. You’ll enjoy that. You’re ready for that. This is the one you should do today.” And this is what we do in all honesty when we wait for the spirit because the Holy Spirit is there to guide us

And if you don’t take time to go down through your list and say, “Holy Spirit, which one is the job for today?” you know what will happen? You’ll do one thing after another after another that really, in the long run, isn’t going to work very well. You’ll do one thing after another that won’t amount to much … because it’s not time yet and it won’t be fun and it won’t be interesting.

But if you go down your list and say, “Which one of these is exciting and am I eager to do?” And according to the experts that review it, if we’re focusing on the things that are like that, we’ll be enormously more productive. That’s what waiting for the spirit is like. The spirit makes it come alive. The spirit makes us want to do that. Waiting is worth it and God has a plan and God is on time.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, as we get ready to come back to the sanctuary of our church, as we get ready to come back to something that’s more normal, as we get ready to be the church that is visible rather than the church that was sheltering in place as we were for so long, help us to be aware of the spirit’s guidance. Help us to not be so certain that we are right but help us to be willing to listen to you and if the timing is not just yet, Lord, help us to wait three more days until there’s a resurrection. Help us to wait 40 more days until the rain stops. Help us to wait 50 days until the day of Pentecost so that we are aligned with your timing to fulfill your will as a part of your plan, and we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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