First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Greg Briggs,
Interim Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720
231-547-9122


Sermon~June 9, 2019

  1. Prayer and Introduction
    1. “May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, our rock and redeemer. Amen”
    2. “What makes a miracle miraculous?”
    3. Power of language – Story of Goyo
      1. HS Spanish – Gregorio was my name
      2. Worked in an auto factory after college, asked what Greg was in Spanish ‘Goyo’
  • Seminary, interned at Primera Iglesia Congregacional – Goyo was a great ice breaker
  1. Now, google translate
  1. What makes a miracle miraculous?
    1. More than just the action itself
      1. How many miracles of everyday life do we have by the standards of Jesus’ followers
        1. Ability to feed everyone
        2. Fantastic health care
      2. “God of the gaps”
    2. What it points to – Intent behind it, effects
      1. John 14: The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. 12 I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father.
      2. Paul in Romans 8: 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.
  • Peter in Acts – quotes scripture, the prophet Joel,
    1. God will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    2. God will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above
      and signs on the earth below
    3. Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
      Your young will see visions.
          Your elders will dream dreams.
  1. Spirit by itself isn’t proof –
    1. 1 John 4:1-2 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
    2. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God
  2. Holy Spirit inspires change –
    1. Comes from God – continues Christ’s mission
    2. Spirit of Truth
  • Spirit of Adoption
  1. Inspires us followers to go OUT!
  1. Pentecost in Acts
    1. Parallel with Shavuot – festival celebrating Moses receiving the 10 commandments
      1. Parallel importance
    2. Start of the church was the Disciples going out! And speaking to others
      1. Not centered on the self, centered on the community
    3. Widening the welcome – getting the story somewhat in reverse, as we’ve been following Acts since Easter, but this is the beginning of acts
      1. Caring for others – non Jews, enemies, removal of kosher laws so table hospitality can be shared
    4. Diversity is godly!
      1. In and of itself
      2. And what it can do for us – help us better understand ourselves and one another than we could by ourselves
      3. Christianity and culture
        1. Meeting people where they are, vs. making them be like us
      4. examples
        1. respect –
          1. Innate regard for feelings of others – politeness
          2. Deferential honor given to someone as a result of their status, abilities, or position
        2. Inclusion – hacking Christianity 10 forms, or levels
          1. Hostility – actively keep separate
          2. Exclusion – you aren’t welcome
          3. Assimilation – welcome after changed
          4. Tolerate – welcome but keep it to yourself
            1. Bare minimum for inclusion – but is often lifted up as the goal in society
          5. Inclusion – you are welcome
          6. Celebration – your being here is great!
            1. Often thought to be the real goal
            2. We love Mexicans, because tacos! For example
          7. Equity – we welcome everyone without barriers
          8. Expansion – we will grow and change because of what each one offers
          9. Justice – we repent of what we did to you and will not repeat it
  • Equality – we are all here together
  • love – romantic, vs. familial love, vs. universal love
  1. Greek has seven kinds, including – eros, storge, agape
  1. Christ speaks of agape love – love for all
  1. New members
    1. Bringing new gifts of spirit as well.
    2. These may or may not translate into the church as it is now
    3. Spirit of expansion – we will grow and change because of what each one offers
      1. We will challenge one another to become fuller disciples of Christ
    4. Spirit of the Still speaking God
  2. Gifts of the still speaking spirit
    1. Same gifts, expressed in a variety of ways
    2. Spirit of Truth
    3. Spirit of Adoption
    4. Spirit of the ages
      1. Each generation has something for the others
        1. Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
          Your young will see visions.
              Your elders will dream dreams.
      2. Elders, what do you dream of for God’s children?
      3. Youth, what visions of the future do you see?
      4. Where is the spirit calling us to go, to speak in new ways?
      5. What miracles are we called to perform?
        1. Not just the act themselves. Our technology is miraculous.
        2. How much more we can do now?
  • How much more is needed!

 

  1.  

Readings

John 14:8-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.”

Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. 12 I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14 When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.

Romans 8:14-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

 

 

Acts 2:1-21 Common English Bible (CEB)

2 When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 12 They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” 13 Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

14 Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! 15 These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young will see visions.
    Your elders will dream dreams.
18     Even upon my servants, men and women,
        I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
        and they will prophesy.
19 I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
20 The sun will be changed into darkness,
    and the moon will be changed into blood,
        before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.