Sermon July 31, 2022: When The Holy Spirit Comes Alongside (Pentecost 9)

Photo by Kim Kueker

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/735069824

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3iv09VZUor

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: The Prayer of St 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

HYMN 338 Where He Leads Me
Where he leads me – Willie Nelson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u95c_FM86ko

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − 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 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.

HYMN 389 Freely, Freely
Freely, Freely … Kelli Estes, Aubrey Nelson and Laura Schachner … First Methodist Houston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buIOhfHnEbo

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: When The Holy Spirit Comes Alongside
John 14:15-17, 14:23-24, 25-26, John 16:7-11, John 15:25-27, John 16:12-15,
Series: “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.”

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and
judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 15:25 It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.‘ 26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16:12 “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you the things that are to come.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN 672 God Be with You Till We Meet Again
God Be With You Till We Meet Again by Selah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOY0C5F8dfw

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

TRANSCRIPT

When the Holy Spirit comes alongside, God does things in our life. For the past seven weeks, we’ve been talking about the different things that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do in your life and through you to bless the lives of other people that he described on the night before he was betrayed. And it’s my prayer and my hope that we’ll discover that the Holy Spirit is doing just those things through us because we want this verse to come true, which is that Jesus is working on us, that we’ve been created in Christ Jesus to do good work, individually good works.

And God goes on before us to get everything ready for all that good to happen. God goes on before you, from when you get up in the morning to when you go to sleep at night, all the different things that happen, all the different people that you interact with. God is working in your life because the Holy Spirit comes alongside to help you. And God is working in their lives because, as the Holy Spirit comes alongside of you, the Holy Spirit comes alongside of everyone surrounding you. And so we see God working today, everywhere, through God’s people. What a beautiful answer to prayer that is.

Let me show you something you’ve seen before. This is a Swiss Army knife. They make a variety of different kinds of Swiss Army knives. The ones with just a few tools are inexpensive. But as they add the tools, the knife gets a little more expensive. This is a Swiss Army Evolution S54. You can buy one today from amazon.com for $153.40. And it has this many tools as a part of it. There’re 32 different functions that you can do with the tools that are packed in this knife.

Well, back in the year 2000, they decided to build the Ultimate Swiss Army knife: the model 16999 Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife. And this is a picture of it. There’re 87 tools. They can perform 141 different functions. It’s actually almost nine inches the long way and three and a half inches the other way. The list price back in the year 2000 was $2,100. Street price $1,300. They stopped making them in 2009. So now they’re collector’s items, and the price has gone way up. But basically, what they’re suggesting is if you have one of these, it can do everything you would ever really need to get done. Yesterday I put on my own personal Facebook page the description from amazon.com of all the different tools that you see in front of you.

But you know what’s really interesting is to read the comments that purchasers have left on the website. A fan wrote on December 31st First New Year’s Eve, 2013, I tried to file my nails with this knife, but in the process, I accidentally fixed the small engine that was nearby, which was nice.

By JLH on April 22, 2015, I accidentally left this knife in the glove box of my worn-out ’67 Chevy truck overnight. Miraculously, overnight, the knife fully restored the truck, drove it to the store, and returned with a cooler full of beer. It’s such a powerful tool.

Owen Long writes May 12, 2014, I forgot the knife in the front pocket of my jeans, and when my wife washed them, it completely disassembled our washing machine. What a mess.

By Inkster on May 12, 2015, so far, I’ve only opened about half of the things and taped it to a Roomba. Now, if you don’t know what a Roomba is, it’s one of those little robot vacuum cleaners that goes back and forth all over the floor, vacuuming everything. It’s been making small repairs around my home while I’m at work. Next project is to lock it in the garage with the car.

Now, here’s the thing. A tool is a wonderful thing, but the problem with a tool is if you tape it to a Roomba, or put it in the glove box, it sits there until intelligence tells it what to do. And you see, that’s the thing that makes these jokes funny, is the idea that this Swiss Army knife, this giant Swiss Army knife, is guided by intelligence.

But when you think about it, that’s exactly what happens when the Holy Spirit becomes your Swiss Army knife, because the Holy Spirit brings unlimited tools that can perform unlimited functions, with unlimited intelligence, to fulfill God’s will. The Holy Spirit just keeps working in the background of all of our lives, all of the time. And you can see in that God’s power, in God’s means to achieve good things. You can see in what the Holy Spirit does, God’s wisdom at work, and you can see God’s will being done. Now, oftentimes not as quickly as we might wish, but God is consistently working through the Holy Spirit in our lives to touch the lives of everybody all around us. So I’m tempted to put on the Amazon website my own review: You want to see miracles? The Holy Spirit really works.

What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do through you and I? Let’s just go over the list and think a bit if you haven’t seen these operating in your life. If you love me, Jesus said in John 14:15, if you love me, you will keep My commandments, and I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another counselor. King James translates it comforter. Most translations call it helper. The Greek word is paraclete, which literally means one who comes alongside to help, not from a great distance, but right where you are. Whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for he dwells with you. And Jesus says, “We’ll be in you.” It has always been God’s plan for the Holy Spirit to be in you, so that God, from within you, can work through you.

John 14:25, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while I’m still with you. But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things.” So as you go through your day and you say to yourself, I don’t know what God wants, don’t worry; the one who comes alongside does know what God wants. You might say to yourself, “I don’t know what to do.” The one who comes alongside knows what you should do. “He will teach you all things,” Jesus said. And here’s the most interesting thing to me. The way the Holy Spirit will teach us all things is to bring to our remembrance, Jesus says, “All that I have said to you.”

So if you find yourself as you go through your day, occasionally remembering something Jesus said, that’s the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear. If you find yourself occasionally remembering something Jesus did, that’s the Holy Spirit teaching your heart. Because whatever Jesus did is probably the right thing for us to do. Whatever Jesus said, it’s probably a sure and certain guide for us about how to live. The Holy Spirit teaches us by reminding us about Jesus. That’s why, when you and I have our daily devotions and we read a little bit from the Scripture, it helps bring into our minds all of what Jesus said and did.

John 15:26, Jesus says, “When the counselor comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” The main voice that tells people about Jesus, the main voice that helps people understand how Jesus can help them, goes from the Holy Spirit into the hearts of people around you. It doesn’t all depend upon you. And sometimes, that’s something that’s hard for preachers to understand, because I think to myself, “If the Holy Spirit wants to say something, I better talk a lot.” But sometimes, honestly, it’s the Holy Spirit that reaches someone. You and I don’t have to do all the talking, because the Holy Spirit will do that. But look at verse 27, we also sometimes are witnesses. We also sometimes are meant to say something. But it is the Holy Spirit that has this task of bearing witness.

John 16:7, nevertheless, I tell you the truth. Jesus says, it’s to your advantage that I go away, but because if I go, I will send the Holy Spirit to you. Take a look at verse eight. When he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness, and judgment. You’ve heard me talk about how I am deeply tempted whenever someone is wrong on the internet, to engage in an endless river of war words, arguing to convince them that the right way to think is the way I do. You’ve also heard me say that I’ve never really known it to work, but it’s such a natural temptation. We need to realize that the Holy Spirit is going to win in the work of convincing people where they’re wrong and how they need to turn toward what is right. We need to let the Holy Spirit do the convincing. And again, sometimes when we come alongside someone, the Holy Spirit will use our voice. But we need to understand that it’s the Holy Spirit that does this holy work.

And as a part of this John 16:13, “When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you, guide us into all the truth.” Friends, as you go through your life, as you seek to serve God, as you seek to do God’s will, you will be continually guided by the Holy Spirit. For he will not speak on his own authority. But whatever he hears from God, he will speak to us and he will declare it to us. And the purpose of what God is guiding us to do and say through the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ.

So I’d like to ask you a question. You kind of already know this. What did Jesus spend his time doing? And I am convinced that it’s this. Jesus took most of his time to listen to other people. And from other people, he would learn what they were praying for, why they were praying for it, who they were praying for. And he would also hear from them their experiences, their testimonies of how God would work through them.

I’ll be honest with you, one of the most blessed times during our services is when the microphone goes around as we share our needs for prayer and how God is answering our prayers. Because I want to hear what God is doing in your life and through your life. When people talk about that, we call that giving a testimony. And I’m really pleased to tell you that I have a testimony today, and Kim Kueker is going to tell it:

So a week ago last Saturday, this is after the week of my surgery and David’s hospitalization, followed immediately by the three kiddos coming up from Texas in a week full of vacation bible school. Saturday I drove them to the airport in over 105-degree heat, plus the heat index. We’re walking around the St Louis Arch grounds. I was so glad to drop them off at the airport, and I even called David and said it’s sweet freedom! I’m coming home by myself! And I couldn’t wait to get home to a nice cool shower and clean clothes and lay on the couch and turn anything on the TV but Paw Patrol. I’m just cruising home, and I’m so excited to get there.

And I’m coming on 270, and I go up the big bluff hill right there, coming up by 157. And not too far up over the hill, I see a truck that’s pulled off on the side of the road. And there had been lots of them because, again, 105-degree heat and just people were having lots of difficulty all over.

Well, I happened to drive by the truck. And I look and see that it’s someone that I have a connection to. So the truck was the Rucker’s Candy company truck. So if you’re familiar with him, the Rucker’s Candy Company is out of Lawrenceville. Wonderful Christian family. Mike Rucker is a retired United Methodist pastor that retired out of Beulah. Before Beulah, he served at Trenton, which is near my hometown, and served on lots of Emmaus Walks, and I mean, he is just a powerful witness for God, a wonderful, godly man. And all of the people that work for him are wonderful, Godly people.

So I noticed that it’s a Christian truck, and it’s like, “All right.” So I had already passed by him. So the next exit is 159. So I pull off and I turn around and I go back the other way on the interstate and I get off at 157 and I turn around and he’s back up at the front of the truck. So I pass by him and pull off the shoulder. And the whole time I’m thinking, “I don’t know how to fix a truck. I don’t know anything about a truck.” But if you’ve heard David tell his story about the Bunny Bread truck and how the paraclete– this Bunny Bread truck, after he had lost all of his lights, and when he hit a deer and this truck came alongside of him and drove him lighting the way and helped him get to safety, that just kept going through my head.
“This is your chance to pay back that Bunny Bread truck.’

And it’s like, “Okay.” So I pulled over and I walked up and I started talking to the driver. And I’m like, “Okay, well, I know Mike Rucker.”
And he’s like, “Well, I’m sorry,” – he made a joke.
And I’m like, “Well, is there anything you need? Do you need some cold water?”
“No, I got a refrigerator full on the truck. I’m good.” “
Do you need to ride somewhere? You need me to call somebody?”
And he’s like, “No, no, I have the tools that I need. I have the part – a radiator hose. And I’ve got the tools on my truck. But I can’t get to it because it’s in the compartment that’s right next to the lane of traffic. And because of where I stopped, people can’t see me in time. They’re not getting over to the passing lane. And I don’t feel safe trying to get the tool I need out of the compartment.”
And I’m like, “Well,” I said, “I can stand out there and try to wave people over.”
He’s like, “No, no, no, I don’t think that’s safe.”
And I said, “Well, I could pull my car around behind you, and I could turn the flashers on and try to encourage cars to get over.”
And he’s like, “That would be great. That would really help.”
So, again, I’m parked in front of his truck. So I had to go all the way down to the next exit, get off, turn around, come back down the interstate, turn back around, and come up. So I stopped a ways behind him, and turned my flashers on. I kind of had my back tire a little bit over the white line so people would see me. And sure enough, it’s working. As soon as people came up over the hill, they were moving over. And he was able to get what he needed.

And he said, “I just need to get to the next exit. I’ll pull off, and I’ll be able to do everything I need to do where it’s safe.”
So I said, “Well, I’m going to follow you. So I pulled out behind him and I had my flashers, and we’re going 25, 30 miles an hour on the interstate, but people were coming out around. And so I followed him all the way, and we got off on the exit, and I’m like, “Are you sure you don’t need a ride somewhere? We could take you to get some antifreeze.”
He’s like, “No, no, no. I got everything I need.” And he said, “Thank you so much for stopping.” And he’s like, “Well, I got you here. You want to hear a joke?” [laughter]
I’m like, “Sure. What’s your joke?”
And he’s like, “Well, my wife sent me to the store to get a loaf of bread. And by the time I got home, it was all toast.” Because it’s 105-degree heat, and we’re sweating like crazy.
And I’m like, “Oh, that’s a pretty good one.”
And he goes, “No, no. I got another one.” [laughter]
I’m like, “Okay.”
And he goes, “It’s so hot back home that the dairy cows aren’t giving any milk. It’s coming out as evaporated milk.” [laughter]
So I’m like, “Oh, that’s funny. That’s really funny.” On a hot day like that, it’s really funny.
And he goes, “No,” he goes, “seriously,” he goes, “thank you so much for stopping.”
And I said, “Well, God bless you on your journey home.”

And so I got back in my car, and I’m heading back home. I didn’t feel led at any other time in my life to ever stop. As a single woman for so many years, that doesn’t know anything about mechanics, I certainly couldn’t fix anything, and I certainly never felt safe walking up to a situation that I didn’t know anything about, not knowing if I would be safe or not.

But in this instance, it was just so heavy on my heart, “I need to go back. I need to just check on him and make sure that everything’s okay.” And there were lots of other trucks that were pulled over on the side of the road after that, and I didn’t feel led to stop and try to intervene in any other situation. And I certainly don’t feel a new-found ministry to stop alongside the road and pick up truckers. [laughter] So it’s not anything like that. It was just one single kind of isolated incident. And I got two really good jokes out of it, so you just never know what you’re going to get.

Thank you. Thank you, Kim. [applause] And this is how God’s Swiss Army knife works, because you are the Swiss Army knife. As you heard Kim say, her whole life long, she has never, ever done this. But all of a sudden, going down the highway this day, it felt like the right thing to do. This day, it felt safe. This day, it felt appropriate to her to come alongside of someone else. And even though it involved driving up to the next exit and coming back, it’s probably two miles, even though it involved going back twice, even though it involved parking her car just a little bit into the lane, it just all seemed to be the right thing to do. And how it worked out shows that it’s the right thing to do because step one is to come alongside of someone else, not everybody, but the appropriate person at the appropriate time. And step two, when you do that, the Holy Spirit works through you, encourages people to move over. Step three, you surrender and let God work. Now, the astonishing thing is, quite often, when you let God work, it’s tiny little things that turn out to be of great worth and value. Not that much for us to give but exactly what is needed. And so step three, we let go and we let God work. And sometimes we get a joke out of it, and sometimes not.

But the Holy Spirit does God’s will God’s way. The one who comes alongside is the paraclete. You bring the Holy Spirit with you. And the paraclete has been doing God’s will through you and through me and through God’s people ever since the first day of Pentecost, 1989 years ago. Brothers and sisters, let God work through you in small and simple ways to do God’s will.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, help us to be the means by which you touch the lives of people. Help us to be the ones who take a moment of our time to slow down and to be with a person, and in that surrendered state, Lord, we pray that you will work in their lives to bless them and help them. Because, Lord, if you can work through each one of us, you can be everywhere with every person and answer, Lord, every prayer in every situation. And so we pray, in this time of Pentecost this year, so many centuries later, we pray that the Holy Spirit would work through us as your people and that we would bless each other by talking and telling of our experiences of the Spirit answering prayers all around us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

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 Road, 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.

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

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