May 19, 2024, Cooperate With The Comforter, Pentecost Sunday

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.)

Lord, I believe: Help my unbelief. Help me to see my world as You see it.
Lord, I obey; Help my disobedience. Focus me; guide me. Prune me.
Lord, I follow;  Help me to stay on the path. Thank you for the path, for guidance, for Providence and protection.
I humbly ask for wisdom and for knowledge in every human situation. 
Lord, help me to flourish as a part of the vine, as a means of grace, as a person through whom your Holy Spirit flows. Amen.

HYMN 420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God
Breathe On Me Breath of God (The Hastings College Choir)

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 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.

HYMN 393 Spirit of the Living God
Spirit of the Living God (with lyrics) – (Rosemary Siemens)

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: Pentecost: Cooperate With The Comforter
Text: John 14:11-12, 15-17, 23-26. John 15:25-27. John 16:7-8, 12-15.
Series: Instructions for Walking in Newness of Life

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


John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. … 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. … 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. 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 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 16:7 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 … 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 the things that are to come. 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.


HYMN 382 Have Thine Own Way Lord
Have Thine Own Way – Gospel Music Hymn Sing at Lee University


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!


Today is Pentecost Sunday; consequently, I’d like to talk with you about how we can Cooperate with the Comforter. Now, there’s a Greek word. It’s called Paraclete. We’re going to talk more about it in a bit. King James Version translates it as “Comforter.” That’s my personal favorite. The RSV uses the word “Counselor,” but it also means helper. It means a variety of other things. And so consequently, you and I, in doing God’s will, can cooperate with God, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, to do God’s will.

As the church sign says out here in front, “Thy kingdom come.” That’s what we want, and it will happen as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Thy will be done. That will happen as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. And it will happen right here and it will happen right now – because we want God’s will to be done right now. But today, I just simply want to emphasize that God’s will is done with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Now I’d like to change the subject to something that is really weird and I don’t know much about. So let me let you have a look at your new car. Kind of wild and crazy and racy and fast, right? This is actually a 2015 model. It’s called the Firefly, and it is Google’s invention of a self-driving car. Now, since then, there have been other versions of it. They all look a little racier. This looks like an ugly version of the VW Bug as I remember it from my childhood.

But that is a self-driving car. Google spun off the company. It’s called Waymo, and they currently operate commercial robot axis, where, on your phone, you call for a taxi in Phoenix, Arizona, or San Francisco. They want to set this up in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. You call, and a robotaxi comes by, and you get in it. And guess what? There is no driver. Now, that’s the idea.

Here’s what it looks like on the inside. You’re looking at Secretary of State John Kerry, who is six foot four inches tall. He fits in there pretty good. But when you look around, where’s the steering wheel? Where are the brakes? I think it’s got a radio, but it’s controlled by computers, linked up with GPS, linked up with cameras that are constantly monitoring everything around it. And you know something? It might be a nice place to read a book on a cool day, but I don’t know that I want this car taking me somewhere. Of the other pictures, I thought about showing it to you. It actually has a version with Domino’s Pizza on the side … where your pizza will be brought to your house by a robot.

The self-driving cars have had some real problems. They don’t always recognize people. They don’t always recognize pedestrians in a crosswalk, especially if the pedestrians are inebriated. In other words, if everybody else behaved, a robot car probably would run just fine, but the world is full of all kinds of difficulties. So if I understand it right, all self-driving cars up till recently required a driver to sit there in case the robot had a problem. And not only that, if I understand it, the person’s supposed to sit there with their hands on the wheel because when the robot has a problem and doesn’t know what to do, all kinds of alarms will flash. And all of a sudden, you’re driving. Better not be dozing off!

But there you are. You’re in a car, it’s moving down the road, and you have no control whatsoever. And you see, that’s my big problem with it. I don’t know that I’m willing to surrender control.

Back to the sermon. We’ve been talking about this verse for some time because it illustrates beautifully your life and my life now, because as we go through our day, as we encounter people on a path, in a park, at the grocery store, here in church, God is riding along with us and controlling circumstances so that God’s will is done on earth the way it is in heaven. Every person you meet, everything that happens to you in some way or another is an opportunity for God to bless you or to bless people. And today, I want to emphasize that what you will see … is God working … right in front of you. You’ll notice God doing things in the lives of people right in front of you and that God is going to prepare those opportunities for wonderful things to happen because God can work through you and me.

John 14:12, Jesus says to the disciples the night he was betrayed, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works, the miracles that I do.” And then Jesus says this, “And greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father.” And the reason that you and I are privileged to do greater miracles than Jesus did is because all of the miracles of Jesus were done by the Holy Spirit working through Him. And now the Holy Spirit can work through you and me, which is why Jesus could say this. Well, on Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit descends. This is 50 days after Easter. And all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit comes alongside of us. That’s the literal meaning of that word paraclete, that Greek word that is translated comforter, counselor, advocate, advisor, helper, and partner, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit comes alongside of us to provide in that moment whatever is needed. Sometimes, it’s advice. Sometimes, it’s strength. But it’s God who is coming alongside of us and working with us.

And we cooperate with the Holy Spirit as we go through this life. John 14:15, Jesus explained, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” That’s how we do God’s will. We keep the commands that Jesus says. Verse 16, “And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another comforter, counselor, Paraclete, to be with you forever, 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.” And you see on the screen there, I have the little symbol for internet, for Wi-Fi, because it occurs to me that what is happening here is that the Holy Spirit is connected to us. And the Holy Spirit connects us to God the Father, to Jesus the Lord. As Jesus said, “You know Him, for He dwells with you.” They’ve seen the Holy Spirit act through Jesus for years and the Holy Spirit will now be with you just as the Holy Spirit was alongside of Jesus.

So Jesus goes on to say this. “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.” There’s now a partnership. Next to Jesus’ side, you should see the letters CPU. If you’re familiar with computers, you know inside the computer, there is a chip that is doing all the work, the central processing unit. And this little logo here that says Jesus Inside, it normally says Intel Inside.
But you see, rather than a computer chip inside you and me, Jesus is inside of us and is the one coordinating and controlling everything. And the Wi-Fi symbol reminds us that we are connected to Jesus in this way. In other words, we will make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father who sent me.

So in the next two chapters, Jesus mentions four things that the Holy Spirit does when the Holy Spirit comes alongside of you and me. So I want to just briefly mention them to remind us so that when they happen, you can realize that God is working in your life.

John 14:25, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you, but the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things.” Now, how does the Holy Spirit teach us about God? How does the Holy Spirit teach us about what to do? How does the Holy Spirit teach us the difference between right and wrong? It’s very specific and very clear: “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all that I,” Jesus said, “all that I have said to you.” The way the Holy Spirit teaches us is to remind us of everything Jesus said and everything Jesus did. The Holy Spirit shines a light on the Bible. All of a sudden, we can now understand what Jesus meant. Certainly, the most important question for us with regard to what we need to do, what maybe we ought to say, and a decision that we should make is, what did Jesus say about this? And the Holy Spirit is there to help us with that. That’s number one.

The second thing the Holy Spirit does … John 15:25, “It is to fulfill the Word that is written in their law. They hated me without a cause.” Jesus is talking about persecution that people are doing to him and about how there will be persecution that comes to us. There will be difficulties and conflicts and fights. Verse 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. And you are also witnesses because you’ve been with me from the beginning.”

Now you and I are interacting with people. And, Lord, we want to say the right thing. Lord, we want to do the right thing. And Jesus says to us in these words, it’s the Holy Spirit who’s going to say the right thing. You’re along for the ride. And of course, you’ll have things to say. But what you need to do is let the Holy Spirit influence that person. You need to let the Holy Spirit be the witness. It does not all depend upon you. But let the Holy Spirit interact with people. Because again, just like the Holy Spirit connects us with God, the Holy Spirit connects us with people. The Paraclete comes alongside to do the heavy lifting, to do the work of witness.

#3: And this week, I got into a fight with somebody – I’ll tell you that with some humility – about this verse. (And I’m talking about somebody on Facebook who you’ve never met. I don’t want you to think I’m fighting with any of you.) John 16:7, Jesus says this, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It’s 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,” and Jesus ascended into heaven, “I will send him to you. And when he comes,” now please notice this, verse eight, very carefully, please notice this, “And when the Holy Spirit comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

There’s a lot of wrong that is going on in our world. There’s a lot of evil around us in what people do to each other and what people try to persuade other people to do. And one of the saddest things is that when Christians start a war with other people, the church gets smaller. Here’s what this verse says very plainly as far as I’m concerned. If I meet you in the grocery store, it’s not my job to tell you that the colors you’re wearing do not match. And that it embarrasses God that you have such poor taste in fashion. If I meet you at the South Central baseball game and you weren’t in church last Sunday, it is not my job to say to you, “Why weren’t you there in church on Sunday?”

You’d be astonished at how often whenever I meet somebody out in the community I’m like, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you.” And the first thing they say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I haven’t been going to church.”

And I almost feel bad when that happens. It is not my job to convince you that you are bad when God can do it so much better than I ever could and in exactly the right way to help you to decide to change your life.

I raised three boys, my youngest son, who was in third grade, and my oldest son, was a senior in high school. The youngest boy would sneak into his room and steal his candy. And there would be this huge yelling. And the boy who was 6’5″ would go chasing after the third grader, walloping on him, yelling at him, and then come and yell at me and say, “You should punish him.” And all I could say to my oldest son was, “You already have. And now, I don’t have a chance to teach him what not to do.”

Friends, the Holy Spirit is very capable of convincing people that they’re doing the wrong thing. The Holy Spirit is very capable of teaching people out there what’s wrong with them. And inside their hearts, to be honest, they know. The problem is when you and I think it’s our job to tell people they’re bad, they stop listening when we talk about how Jesus is good … because Jesus said that we were to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourself. He did not come along with a third command, one, which said– he did not say that what we need to do is go out there and make people feel bad because they’re not good enough.

And sadly, that does not work. The church needs to talk about God’s love and let the Holy Spirit convince people that they’re wrong. Now, you know what that means. I can tell you what it means for me: Lord, smite him. Lord, I sure am looking forward for when you straighten that person out because they’re wrong. I’m honest that just– I want to tell them they’re wrong because if they were only more like me, they would be more like God … See the problem? Then I see the problem with me telling them that they’re wrong. The Holy Spirit is very able to convince the world about sin and righteousness and judgment. But all too often, we are too quick to get in there, and rather than cooperate with what God is doing, we try to take the place of God. Not a wise idea! It’s not our job to criticize and condemn others; we can let God do it.

The fourth thing the Holy Spirit does when the Holy Spirit comes alongside: “I have yet many things to say to you,” Jesus says, “but you cannot bear them now.” You and I learn as we go along. We can’t know everything in advance. But Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” A hundred years after Jesus rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit guides them further into all the truth. And 500 years later, guides them further into more truth. And 1,000 years later, guides them further into more truth.

And we can trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “For he will not speak,” Jesus said, “on his own authority, but whatever he hears, he will speak. And he will declare to you the things that are to come.

One of the things that parents are concerned about today is what is now called screen time. How much screen time should our children have? And I’m sorry to tell you, Jesus never said anything about screen time. But if you seek God’s will, the Holy Spirit will guide you into the truth about things that are not yet literally spoken of in the Bible. He will not speak on his own authority, Jesus said, but whatever he hears, he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come. This is like having God accessible to you by telephone. So you can say, “Lord, how much screen time is good for my children? And when should I tell them to put their devices down?” And the reason we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us into the future, Jesus goes on to say, is He will glorify me. This is one way to know it’s the Holy Spirit. The center of what the Holy Spirit does … draws our attention to Jesus and how wonderful he is. And it will glorify Jesus “when the Holy Spirit takes what is mine,” Jesus says, “and declares it to you. All that the Father has is mine. Therefore, I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” So the Holy Spirit will not only remind us of what Jesus said in the past, the Holy Spirit will also teach us and remind us of what Jesus is saying today. And listening to Jesus is always the key.

Many, many years ago, I had the experience of driver education. Some of you took a class just like I did. And you sat next to the assistant football coach who was a very grumpy, oversized man who would get in that car where he did not have his hands on the steering wheel, and he would let somebody like me drive. And the only thing he had on his side of the car was a brake. And I still remember to this day, when it was my turn to drive. I signaled that I was going to pull out into the road. I very slowly, looking everywhere, pulled out into the road. And I drove ahead about 20 feet and all of a sudden, I realized that I, a 6’5″ teenager, did not adjust my mirrors from when the 5’2″ girl was driving before me. So I signaled a right turn to pull off on the side of the road. And over on the side over here, I hear, yelling … “What are you doing?” And I carefully and slowly moved over onto the side of the road, and all of a sudden, he hit the brake and we slid on gravel about one foot. Kind of hard to slide when you’re going 20 miles an hour. And I said, “I’m supposed to adjust my mirrors.” And he was not happy with that, but he could not argue because he had told us we needed to do that. But that led to three months of teasing.

But it helped me learn how to drive because I was driving with someone. Now I learned very early not to learn how to drive from my father because he was 10 times as bad as Mr. Matusik. I don’t know how you learned how to drive. You may have been on a tractor when you were eight years old, and you turned out just fine.

But you see, the Holy Spirit is riding with us. We’re driving. But the Holy Spirit has come alongside to help us to learn how to do what we’re doing, how to be Christian people in this world. The Holy Spirit has come alongside of us.

And I thought to myself, “I need to get really artistic about that.” So here’s my little work of art here. Do you see this cross and a flame on the screen? The idea behind the flame is the Holy Spirit needs to be a part of our life. It is the heart of what it means to be United Methodist. And it starts at Pentecost because the Holy Spirit connects us with Jesus inside of us so that we can understand, we can learn, we can grow.

And occasionally, Jesus will say, “Would you like me to take the wheel? Would you like me to take the wheel?” Because sometimes you and I need to let Jesus take control. We’re just not up to it. We’re not as smart as we need to be or as strong as we need to be. We’re not as good as we need to be. And this is when we find out: are we willing to surrender control? Are we willing to live a life where God has control?

And I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I have these black shirts. And on them, they have the word Disciple Walk, which is a word I invented a number of years ago, which basically is the idea that when we’re disciples, we walk along with Jesus and let Jesus guide us. And sometimes, we let Jesus take the wheel because we’re in a situation where we need God’s help.

And this particular picture, I think, is such a beautiful example of that, how in the operating room, Jesus is there to guide the surgeon in the work of healing.

Friends, sometimes you and I need the presence of Jesus to guide us in what we do. And the presence of Jesus is there because the Holy Spirit connects us with Jesus. And because we’re connected by the Holy Spirit, we see so many things. The picture on the screen now shows what a self-driving car sees, a bicycle crossing the road, a pedestrian on the left. And the blue lines on the screen, that’s where the car is going to go. And there’s little blue boxes around the parked cars. Jesus goes with us and is going to help us to see what we need to see.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank You so much that when we go out of our houses in the morning, everywhere we go, you go with us. You promised that You would never leave us or forsake us. And indeed, Lord, You’re connected to us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Lord, help us to see what you see. Guide us to do what you would do. Help us to let go of what we should let go of. Help us to grab a hold of what we should hold strongly. Help us to say, in every part of our lives, “Thy will be done.” And help us to see the Holy Spirit helping us and guiding us. Because, Lord, certainly, we do need that guidance. 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 )

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