June 4, 2023, Telling In Our Own Tongues The Mighty Works of God, Pentecost 1

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again,, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP:
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.
Holy Spirit, come alongside of us, comfort and counsel us, speak through us, and empower us to do God’s will. Amen.

HYMN I Love To Tell The Story
I Love To Tell The Story – The Oak Ridge Boys (Live At Studio C, Gaither Studios)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Bjnn4_yRA

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − Dear Lord, This morning as I contemplate a new day, I ask you to help me. I want to be aware of your Spirit—leading me in the decisions I take, the conversations I have, and the work I do. I want to be more like you, Jesus, as I relate to the people I meet today—friends or strangers. 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 Every Time I Feel the Spirit
Ernie Haase, Babbie Mason – Every Time I Feel the Spirit [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kXw5Z9O38A

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: Telling In Our Own Tongues The Mighty Works of God
Text: Acts 2:1-13, Matthew 10:17-20, Galatians 5:22-23, James 3:2, 6
Series: The Greatest Story Ever Retold

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

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SERMON NOTES

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and wondered, 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? 9 Par’thians and Medes and E’lamites and residents of Mesopota’mia, Judea and Cappado’cia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phryg’ia and Pamphyl’ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre’ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Matthew 10:17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

James 3:2 For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

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HYMN How Great Thou Art
Carrie Underwood – How Great Thou Art (Official Performance Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf6C0L_7-CA

BENEDICTION 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.

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

“Telling in our own tongues, the mighty works of God.” We are talking about Pentecost then, what God did 2,000 years ago, but also we want to translate into today, Pentecost now, how God wants to act through us today. Many things are the same; some things are different. But what Jesus said on Easter Sunday is that, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” So we are talking about the greatest story ever retold. Because everything that Jesus said … still happens today. Everything Jesus did … still happens today.

And consequently, it’s a little bit like football. Especially the way NFL coach Tony Dungy taught his players. He had a different system. He wanted his players to notice what was happening on the field, and then automatically respond to the patterns that they saw developing. He said to his players, “You don’t have time to think about it, you don’t have time to make a decision, you need to respond based on something you know without being able to say it.” This led them to multiple championships and Super Bowls.

But I think in the three years that Jesus spent with the disciples, they saw what Jesus did. They heard what Jesus said. And consequently, after Jesus rose up to Heaven and the book of Acts began, they could see the same things happening and respond based on what they saw … “Jesus said that, Jesus did that, now I should say that and do that.” And in fact, when you look through the promises about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the one who comes alongside, Jesus specifically said that the way the Holy Spirit teaches us is to remind us of what Jesus said and did. So watch for the patterns, brothers and sisters, because in them, you will see how God is acting here and now. And you will see your part and my part to cooperate with God.

Now, having said that, we are talking about being witnesses. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” That is power to be witnesses. “And you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem,” right here. “And in all Judea,” the area around that, oh, and beyond that, to Samaria … “And on to the ends of the earth.”

What does it mean to witness?
And what is the content of the witness that God wants us to share?

Now I have to confess a little reality about me. There is a science that is called the diffusion of innovations. It started with studies of hybrid seed corn in Iowa during The Great Depression. Because the diffusion of innovations is about how long will it take for people to accept change? With hybrid seed corn in Iowa, it took 13 years before every farmer was using hybrid seed corn.

And this sociological study is about how people change, and one of the things that they found is that there’s a bell curve, a standard deviation like the picture you see on the screen, with regard to how open people are to change. And people neatly fall into five patterns related to how open they are to change.

Well, Pastor Dave, what does this have to do with church? What if you consider conversion to be a change? What if you consider following Jesus to be a new innovation? And since we want everyone to follow Jesus, this sociological scientific information is going to be helpful to us to understand how Jesus can bring the whole world to him.

And unfortunately, it points out some huge problems. The first one is this: 95% of all efforts to change people and organizations and companies and governments and churches and cultures fail miserably. Now, what that means is we don’t understand how to help people to change, even when change is beneficial to them.

And the main point the diffusion of innovations makes, one of the main points, is that there are two basic categories of people in this adoption framework: far to the left, 2.5% of people are innovators; they can’t talk about anything but change. 13.5% are early adopters; they are constantly watching for some way to do things better so they can do better than their neighbors. But the point of this is, only 16% of any people group – and this is supposed to apply to all cultures all throughout the world – only 16% of every people group want anything to change.

The majority – 84% of Americans, 84% of Methodists, 84% of people who live in Kinmundy – just want everything to stay the way it is. And that’s why Jesus Christ is not the Lord and Savior yet of all people.

Now, why did 95% of efforts to change people fail, or to put it in a different way, why did 95% of brilliant ideas about evangelism fail to change people? Well, there are many answers to this question but one answer is this: one problem is that innovators, the people with all the new ideas, they think the way you change people is to give them information. Now, this is a picture of the corner of my home office. The other corner is full of stacks of books about four feet high. There’s not even room for them on the shelves. Guess which point of view is my problem? I want to give people information.

But here’s the confession I want to make to you today. I am aware that information does not reach all people. And in fact, with some people, information fails greatly to change people’s lives. My wife calls it – bless her – backing up the dump truck of knowledge, because once somebody gives you more information than you can hear, more information that you can absorb, more information than you can understand, your mind just can’t take in any more. And so consequently, the people who want change advocate for change in the way that is guaranteed to fail.

And if that’s true, what does the diffusion of innovations say works past that 16% line, the other side of the bell curve? The 84% of people who are resistant to information?

And friends, I want to tell you what it is. It’s conversations with people who you like and trust. Apparently, to my great regret, there’s a big difference between a conversation and a lecture. Now, by the way, if you’re on the side that loves lectures, come and see me. I got all these lectures that I don’t know what to do with!

But the thing I want to say to you today is your witness, the witness that the Holy Spirit wants to do through you, thank God, is not a lecture that you need a PhD before you can deliver it. What works to change people’s lives, to give them hope, to solve problems, is when you care enough to have a conversation where you not only listen, but you also share your own experience. Because what helps people want to change is they see how God has helped you, and they want that also. And so, social change spreads through conversation. Now, please keep that in mind as we look at what happened at Pentecost then.

Acts 2.1. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place and suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind. This has been compared to the sound of a tornado – which people have told me is like the loudest train you ever heard just going right over your house. And that sound filled all the house where they were sitting and there appeared on them, on them tongues as of fire distributed and resting on each one of them. A little bit later, Peter stands up and quotes the prophet Joel, and he says, “This is God pouring out God’s spirit on all people.”

In fact, you may not know this, you see the Methodist symbol there, the cross with the flame. The flame represents the Holy Spirit being poured out on God’s people.

And what happens? Verse four, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak and other tongues, other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Luke wants us to understand very specifically how exactly true this is. Verse 5, “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound, the loud sound at this sound, the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard the disciples speaking in his own language.” Now, if that wasn’t enough detail, here comes Luke with the next detail. “And they were amazed and wondered, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?'” Apparently, Galileans had a very strong accent, like someone from the Deep South. Verse 8, “‘And how is it that we hear each one of us in his own native language?'” And if that wasn’t specific enough, verse 9, Luke goes on to say, “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” – not the parts of Libya that belong to someone else, but just the parts of Libya that belong to Cyrene – and “visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts, proselytes, Cretans and Arabians: we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

But one of the most important things is this: they hear the disciples talking to them in their own language. It’s been since the early ’60s that the Catholic Church stopped doing all of their worship in Latin. Because after much prayer, they decided it needed to be in the voice of the people. Now, please keep in mind, this is a miracle. The noise is a miracle. One of the things the Holy Spirit does, one of the things that Jesus did, is God performed miracles, things happened that stirred people up, and drew a big crowd together. And sometimes Jesus would stand up in that crowd and speak, but sometimes he would just sit. But you know what the 12 disciples did? They were going in and out and among the people in the crowd having conversations with the people.

This is something the Holy Spirit does. But in this particular case, people were able to talk in a language that they had never learned. Now, please understand me, I’m not suggesting that God took their tongues over. I’m suggesting that words appeared in their head and they said them with great joy, not even knowing what they were saying. But the people heard what they were saying because what they were describing was the mighty works of God … as Patsy said earlier, a praise. They were praising God for what God had done.

And there are three results you see in people when God speaks. Verse 12, “And all were amazed–” That’s the first response. And the second response is this: “and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?'” When God does something, when your story touches someone’s heart, they’re going to wonder what it means. They’re going to ask questions. And you may need to try to answer those.

But the next response is always present too. But others mocking, others critical, negative, said, “They are filled with new wine.” These critics have an explanation – This is not a miracle; they’re just drunk. Those are the three responses. That’s amazing. That’s confusing. That’s not real.

Earlier in the book of Matthew, though, Jesus talked about what was going to happen when people were empowered to be witnesses by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 10:17, He says, “Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to counsels and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.” In other words, not everybody is going to welcome what you have to say. And so consequently, if it’s your desire to please people. if it’s your desire for everyone to like you, you’re going to be unhappy. And that’s why we pray: Holy Spirit, come alongside of us, comfort and counsel us, speak through us, and empower us to do God’s will. Amen.

And then Jesus gives them his advice. “When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say, in that moment, for what you are to say, will be given to you in that hour.” Why? Verse 20, “For it is not you who speak. But the spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

You see, this is what we want. Not the dump truck of spiritual information that a person might pile up in graduate school or seminary, but what we want is for the spirit of God to speak through us in a language that people can understand. And so we pray: Holy Spirit, come alongside of us, comfort and counsel us, speak through us, and empower us to do God’s will. Amen.

And we pray that because all too often, what comes out of our mouth, what we say, we have the best of intentions … but all too often what comes out of our mouth is the bad stuff that comes by the tongue. James chapter 3 verse 2 is very, very plain: For we all make many mistakes. Including the pastor. And then James makes this point. “If anyone makes no mistakes in what he says, he is a perfect man able to bridle or control the whole body also.” But James goes on to say that “the tongue is like a fire.” And people catch fire and you would not believe what comes out of their mouth. And in fact, there are whole churches that are destroyed by fires that are set from people’s tongues as evil words are passed around.

Now, there are all kinds of ways that you can harm someone. There are all kinds of ways that you can abuse someone. But I want to honestly say to you, all too often, the words that people say do more harm than anyone can imagine.

And friends, when it comes to us saying into that moment what God wants to share, the witness that we’re asked to share, we, too, have this problem. But the solution to it is to let the Holy Spirit guide you and speak through you. Because when the Holy Spirit speaks, the words will be like rain to put out those fires. Because when the Holy Spirit speaks, this is what the characteristics will be– the fruit of the Spirit, the result of the Spirit, what you will hear if the Spirit speaks– the fruit of the Spirit is love and joy and peace. The fruit of the Spirit is patience, kindness, and goodness. The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness or trustworthiness, gentleness and self-control. And Paul goes on to say in Galatians 5:22-23, “against such there is no law.” If in what you say, you see these nine characteristics; if, in what you do, you see these nine characteristics, then it’s the right thing to do.

Here’s the guidance for our words and deeds: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And if you want to see the gospel spread beyond 16% of the people in a given area, such as our town, we need to understand the importance of conversations. Conversions, I want to suggest to you, as I back up the dump truck of information– conversions are the result of how many conversations that church people have in a week’s time.

You’re looking at a picture of the Wesley church. I’m sitting in the rocking chair, looking at my watch. How long will these people want to talk with each other after church is over? But the thing I understand is that God speaks in these conversations. God works in these conversations. The love and joy and peace that people share with each other in these conversations, they help them during the week when life is hard. Because conversations are powerful to do God’s work.

And I’ll be frank with you, I want to have more of them. I wish you would come by the office and say, “Pastor, let’s have a conversation. Let me tell you what God has told me this week.” And I’m like, “Bring it.” I want to talk with you. I want to understand what God is doing in your life. I want to hear not just about the joys and the great high moments of victory, but also how I can pray for you, and how perhaps I could be helpful.

Because when church members have conversations, God begins to work in their lives as they talk to each other and strengthen each other’s faith.

And not only that, when God brings you into the presence of a person who does not have faith, the conversation that you have with them has the greatest possible potential to change their lives and help them to find faith.

And in order to have these conversations, we need to pay attention to something that’s very simple. We have to notice what God is doing, we have to notice the way that God is working in our lives, and we have to be willing to let it come up in conversation. Because when you yield to allow God to speak through you, God can do incredible miracles in the lives of people that you care about and talk to.

And here’s an example for us: Isn’t that a beautiful sunset? There are all kinds of things that happen in your life that cause you to be thankful and grateful. You look up at God and you say, “Lord, that was wonderful.”

But here’s the really weird thing, you don’t look to the person next to you who is also enjoying that sunset. You say nothing. You don’t look at the person who’s enjoying that delicious breakfast. You don’t look at the person who’s enjoying that ball game. You say nothing.

Whatever it might be, you can say, “Isn’t this wonderful?”

The next time you look at a sunset, say out loud, “God is quite an artist. What a beautiful view. What a beautiful day.” And then you turn to the person next to you and you say, “It makes me feel thankful to God. What are you thankful for?” And a conversation begins.

This kind of conversation is not intimidating, and it certainly is not pushy. It’s one to where God sets it up with a miracle, even if that miracle is frequent as a beautiful sunset, and then we just simply express our gratitude out loud. Practice noticing, practice sharing your gratitude, and know that the conversations you have with people, God can use them in very powerful ways.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, some of us are introverted, and we don’t talk much. Some of us, Lord, are extroverted, and we can’t stop talking. But whatever sort of person that You’ve made us to be, I pray that You would help us to allow You to be present whenever we talk. I pray that You would help us to open our minds, to be aware, not just of how we feel, but, Lord, what you might wish to say. Help us, Lord, not simply to feel gratitude, but to be able to put it into words. And, Lord, help us to pray and ask You to speak through us, knowing that Your Holy Spirit will use those words to help and love someone to move towards You. We ask you, Lord Jesus, to speak through us through the presence of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

ONLINE VIDEOS … Recorded Saturday … Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/832960310?share=copy

Screenpal: https://screenpal.com/watch/c01e0tVBQqi

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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