This prayer was adapted with permission from a post by Steve Garnaas Holmes on his wonderful site, Unfolding Light. A single voice reads the regular print while all present read the bold print. (2 Timothy 1:6) Consider following this liturgy with each person lighting a candle or striking a match. – Lisa <><
You have a treasure in you,
a seed of glory planted from stars,
a song written for only you to sing.
You have gifts to give.
The treasure is buried,
and it may take some digging to recover.
The song is forgotten,
but still hidden in your bones.
Rekindle the gift of God that is within you.
Nothing that happens to you
can remove it, no fear or shame
destroy it, no failure ruin it.
It is who you are.
Rekindle the gift.
Listen for the quiet voice,
the Spirit of Life
singing in you.
Rekindle the gift of God that is within you.
Listen… and sing.
Tune your life to its melody.
Let it sing in you,
let it sing you into life.
Rekindle the gift
that is God within you.
Give God this joy— for it is
God who is singing.
Rekindle the gift of God that is within you.
Be sure to check out another wonderful prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes on the theme of spiritual gifts entitled Not Lacking based on 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.
Sermon Series: Parables Message 2 of 4: The Valley of Dry Bones
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 8/4/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida. There is no recording of this message.
Ezekiel is a wild book of the Bible, full of powerful visions and dramatic choices. It’s also a book of hope. Today, we need a word of hope for so many reasons, including the mass shootings which took place in El Paso and Dayton.
Imagine yourself around age 25, living in the big city, the capital of your country. All your life you’ve known what you’re going to do- go into the family business. This blessing would bring you purpose and position, financial security and a bright future.
One day all of it crashes. A mighty foreign power invades, but they don’t destroy the city. Instead, they gut the hope out of the people by kidnaping the best and brightest of the young people. You are taken far from home, those you love, and your future.
This is what’s happened to Ezekiel. He thought he would become a priest at the temple in Jerusalem. Instead, he’s taken into exile in Babylon.
The Book of Ezekiel starts 5 years later. Ezekiel is at a refugee camp by a river in Babylon. It’s his 30th birthday, the time when he was supposed to start serving as a priest. The time his life was supposed to begin.
Ezekiel has a vision – 4 powerful creatures, each with 4 faces, traveling in formation. Underneath them are wheels. They form a divine chariot for God’s royal throne. The very presence of God rests there.
In this overwhelming moment, God calls Ezekiel to be a prophet instead of a priest. God tells Ezekiel to speak truth, to speak out against violence, injustice, and the worship of false gods, to call people back to remembrance and repentance and relationship with God.
Ezekiel begins to speak the truth to everyone- no one listens, their hearts are hard. This goes on for years. Ezekiel stays true.
Ezekiel is also called by God to proclaim another attack is coming to Jerusalem and this time everything will be destroyed. Ezekiel’s prophesy comes true- Babylon attacks again. People of God are murdered and scattered. Jerusalem is destroyed, including the temple-
the center of government,
the needed place for forgiveness and cleansing and thanksgiving and praise
the home of the presence of the One True Living God
Ezekiel wonders – Is God done with us? Have we blown it for good? Too much sin, apathy, worshipping false gods…
The question is fresh for us.
Is God done with my nation?
Growing secularization and apathy towards God.
The polarization based on economics, race, age, political party
Wars and rumors of wars
44 mass shootings in the last month
Is God done with the church?
Is God done with me?
Often heard people say, “If I walked into a church, the roof would cave in.”
I don’t think I want a conversation with God because I don’t want to hear what God would say to me.
Is God done? The resounding answer of God is NO! I’m going to do something new.
It’s not because we are deserving or worthy. It’s not because we’ve said the magic words or earned it with a magic sacrifice.
It’s because this is God’s character. God’s being. God says this is who I am. I am the One who makes all things new. I am the One who creates. I am the One who saves and I do not change.
The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14) Notice how often the spirit appears in this passage!
1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.
Very Many Bones- it takes time to tour the valley. Reinforces the loss.
Very Dry Bones- the people have been dead a long time, the bones are picked clean, bleached white
Rebellion against God brings death
Death of Ezekiel’s dream to be a priest
Death of home, of life the Promised Land
Death of Jerusalem and Death of the Temple
Death of many people
Death of the covenant? God says, “No!” and God creates.
3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them:
This is how God creates, God speaks. Consider the creation story in Genesis and Jesus the Word made flesh.
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
God speaks and there is breath and life and holiness and goodness. God does this for us. In our dryness, our desert, our death, God speaks.
7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
They lived and they stood. They stand, withstand, and stand firm. They were not just flesh and bone, not the walking dead. Now they were bone and breath and life.
11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’
Have you ever had that voice running through your head? I’m just dried up, no good, all is hopeless, a lost cause, no one to help me, no one who loves me, this bad choice will haunt me forever. That isn’t the voice of God.
Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber Quote: God simply keeps reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions, and God keeps loving us back to life over and over again.
12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”
We will know that we know that we know.
It’s not enough for us to try harder and do better. We surrender into life by the breath of God.
Our God is a God of creation, a God of life – just like Genesis 2, just like the raising of Lazarus, just like Pentecost, just like the resurrection of Jesus, God brings life to our bones. Not just bones but breath.
God cleansing. God breathing. God creating. God resurrecting.
Let us breathe and be full of hope. God is not done with us. We’ve got work to do. To help other folks find what’s found us. We are the people of hope.
Who wants more of this in their life? We all do. If you had to pick one to have more of in your life, which would you pick? (I want patience. Give me patience now!)
They are all good like a good piece of fruit. They are good gifts from God.
God expects fruit in our lives. They are the natural progression of being a follower of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in our life. Growth in grace. Being alive and multiplying. Being rooted and grounded in Christ.
This is the fruit of abiding in Christ. The Spirit abides with us and in us. This is the natural fruit from believing and praying and trusting and seeking and serving.
It’s very simple: A follower of Christ should look and act differently than someone yet to believe.
Where’s the fruit? Do we look all that different?
Where are the saved crying out in thanksgiving?
Where are the bodies, families, and unjust systems healed for the Glory of God
Where are the leaders leading out of Godly wisdom and humility?
Where are the abused, angry, and addicted rejoicing in Christ’s freedom?
There is fruit my friends, but too often we don’t tell anyone about it. We hide it. We’re afraid of bragging, being weird, we’re shy.
Testimonies of Grace Stimson, Alida Noel Provence, and Pam Rader.
The Holy Spirit is at work. There is fruit. It’s about having eyes to see it. It’s about wanting it. The Spirit is never forced upon us.
Galatians 5 is all about freedom.
Galatians 5:1 For freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Freedom from a false understanding of the law which lays a heavy burden on us
Purpose of the Law was to show us our need of a Savior- we can’t fulfill the law in our own strength
Good gift of the law was twisted into a set of rules – follow the rules you’ll earn God’s love and salvation
How are we saved? By grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by your own doing, not of works and rules (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Galatians 5:13-14 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers, and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Wide swing to another end of the spectrum in understanding freedom in Christ
Christ has set me free so I can do whatever I want
No- our freedom is so we can love and serve one another
In true freedom, we live by the Spirit not the law, not rules In true freedom, we are guided by the Spirit not our fleshy selfishness or achieving
Galatians 5:16-25 NRSV 16 Live by the Spirit, I say and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
a “sin list” of 15 actions
fornication, impurity, licentiousness (misuse of the good gift of sex)
heart of war sees people as objects, obstacles to be overcome or fixed, projects, problems, a means to an end. People not as people
drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. (misuse of the good gift of celebration)
I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Tug Of War Battle: Flesh vs. Spirit, Heart of War vs. Heart of Peace, Old Life without Christ vs. New Life with Christ. Just like in Tug of War, there will be a surrender. Will you surrender to the flesh or will you surrender to the Spirit? Do you want the Fruit of the Spirit or do you want the crazyville of the sin list?
The Fruit of the Spirit is the evidence we’ve surrendered to the Spirit, that we’re finding true freedom in Christ.
There is an awful, scary warning in the middle of this passage. (v. 21) If you act like the sin list you won’t inherit the Kingdom. But I still get angry… I still envy… I want patience NOW… I don’t have self-control over chocolate, or something else.
We’re awakening and becoming self-aware. The warning is serious, we take it seriously, so we get to work. I’ll work on my patience.
Did you hear the W word? I’ll work on being more patient and there we are trapped again. We turn the list of the Fruit of the Spirit into a new set of laws which will bind us. We work hard to achieve them in our own strength.
Truth: We can’t create the Fruit of the Spirit. All we do is surrender to it.
We give ourselves grace because it takes a long time to bear fruit. If you were to plant a fruit tree, how long would it take before it bore fruit? If you were to plant seeds, how long would it take? The Holy Spirit is the seed.
John 15:4 Jesus said, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”
We abide. Every day we open ourselves to the Spirit. Grow fruit in me. It’s that simple.
An apple tree doesn’t have to focus and work really hard to produce apples. It’s the natural result of seed meeting soil, sun, water.
The Holy Spirit is the seed. The Spirit meets the soil of our soul. It’s watered by our openness and trust, prayer, scripture, community, seeking, surrender.
Give yourself grace. Tell someone about the fruit.
Sermon Series: Spirit Filled Message 4 of 5: Pour Out Your Truth
Scripture: John 14:16-17, 25-26
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 6/30/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
Saints QB Drew Brees Shares his testimony
John 14:16-17 Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
The Holy Spirit is the Presence of God with us right now.
The Spirit is with you and in you. Now and Forever!
God’s presence, sustaining, and blessing is all around us. You have the power to ignore and push away the Spirit. You have a choice. The Spirit will not be forced upon you.
The Holy Spirit is the Advocate = Helper/Counselor/Parakletos. One set from the Father. Exactly like the Father and Christ.
The Presence of God is a Help. The Presence is for you.
John 14:25-26 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
The Spirit Teaches us and Reminds us
One of Jesus’ main missions was to teach. Jesus would refer back to the Old Testament, reminding his hearers what it really meant and really said. Jesus brought the promises of God into his time period and thus our time period. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will continue to do that.
What the Spirit teaches us and reminds us is seen in how the Spirit is revealed in the Scriptures. Think 4 B’s: Bird, Breath, Blow, Burn.
We are named and claimed by God in our baptism. Our true identity is found in Christ Jesus, rooted in the eternal, not in how the world wants to label and stereotype us.
The Love Dove of Jesus’ Baptism- The heavens were opened to Jesus. He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. This is my Son the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17)
The fire of God reminds us of passion, our mission/calling from God, and the refiner’s fire which burns away what isn’t good for us so the gold is revealed.
Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3)
The pillar of fire leading God’s people through the darkness and across the wilderness to the promised land (Exodus 13-14)
God consuming the offering in the battle between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18)
Isaiah’s lips being cleansed by a lump of burning coal from the heavenly altar
God companioning and rescuing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
God described as a Refiner’s Fire (Malachi 3)
John the Baptist’s prophecy that the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3, Luke 3)
The tongues of fire dancing on the disciples’ heads at Pentecost (Acts 2)
When you think of Fire, what comes to mind?
Fire takes- burn down the house, forest fire, burn my skin- sunburn, radiation treatment. Devastation. Destruction. Consuming. Devouring. If I surrender to the Spirit, what will he take from me?
Fire gives- candles on Christmas Eve, campfire, warmth, light.
We get scared of the Spirit. Not sure if we want it.
What the Fire Gives by Jan Richardson, from her book Circle of Grace
You had thought that fire
only took for itself,
leaving merely ash
you had believed,
if not permanent,
would be long enough,
to be nearly
So when you felt
the scorching on your lips,
the searing in your heart,
you could not
at first believe
that flame could be
that when it came to you—
you, in your sackcloth
it did not come
to take still more
What surprised you most
were not the syllables
that spilled from
though that was miracle
to have words
what had been numb,
to find your tongue
aflame with a language
you did not know
no, what came
as greatest gift
was to be so heard
in the place
of your deepest
to be so seen
within the blazing,
to be met
with such completeness
by what the fire gives.
Holy Spirit, Pour out your truth
“That flame could be so generous.” I needed that reminder.
What we believe about God matters. If we believe God is angry, ready to punish, always watching, distant it will color everything. But if we believe God is generous, strong, good, and near, then the gift of the Holy Spirit is generous, good, and near.
We have our normal we know really well. It’s comforting and comfortable in a world that’s always changing. But, what God offers us is a new normal beyond circumstance. It is generous.
The first thing God always offers is to be heard and seen. Being before doing. God knows me just as I am. God sees me just as I am. God loves me just as I am. God invites me into all I can be.
I long to be known and seen and understood like this. That’s what I find in the presence of God. No need to hide. This knowing and seeing are so generous you can surrender to it. It is trustworthy and it is truth.
What do you most need today from the Spirit?
What do you most need to be reminded of?
Washington Post columnist, Gene Weingarten, and world-famous violinist Joshua Bell worked together to answer this question: If one of the world’s greatest musicians played some of history’s most beautiful music on one of the world’s most expensive instruments, but in an ordinary place, would anyone notice?
Video of Joshua Bell playing in a Washington, DC metro station
What did you notice?
Bell played for 45 minutes, playing 6 or 7 classical pieces, earning $32
Very few people stopped. 1,097 people passed by. Only 7 people stopped. One stayed for 3 minutes. One stayed for 9 minutes. The woman who recognized him stayed the last 2 minutes of his performance.
Everyone was busy.
7 years later, in 2014, Joshua Bell played in Union Station again. What do you think happened?
Why was it different this time?
Both times he played the exact same music
He had more people helping him
It was announced. They recognized him and his gifts. They knew who he was.
There was a sense of expectancy.
They acknowledged his presence.
The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
What great extravagant gifts do we pass by- not expecting it, not acknowledging it? We’re picking blackberries with our face in our BlackBerries.
Even more so, we’re passing by the presence of Almighty God. The world is afire with the power, presence, and beauty of the Holy Spirit. Are we expectant for it? Are we awakened to it? Are we acknowledging it?
Who is the Holy Spirit? God’s presence with us now
Have you acknowledged the presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to awaken you to the beauty and power of God all around you?
John 14:15-18, 23
This passage is part of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. (John 13-17) Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper, the night of his arrest, less than 24 hours before his death. He’s preparing the disciples and reminding them of the promises of God.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit, God’s Presence
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you anotherAdvocate, to be with you forever.
Another = Just Like the First
We continue to have access to the presence, wisdom, healing, grace of Christ
Advocate = Parakletos in Greek, One sent from the Father, called alongside you
The parent who climbs in bed with a scared or sick child to comfort him or her
The person who takes the hand of a friend to walk alongside them through the situation
With you forever
Jesus walked this earth for a specific period of time. The presence of God in the Holy Spirit is with us forever.
We can see and know the Spirit. The Spirit is here! There can be expectancy, awakening, opening, acknowledging what others are just passing by. (John 14:17)
With you forever- with you and in you
Abides with you (John 14:17)
Will not leave you orphaned (John 14:18)
The disciples were feeling abandoned and orphaned by Jesus’ reminder that he must go. Jesus sends another just like him.
I am coming to you (John 14:18)
The Spirit comes to us. We don’t have to go searching. God always makes the first move.
You will see me (John 14:19)
We will come to them (John 14:23)
Make our home with them (John 14:23)
Consider the intimacy and immediacy of someone moving in with you
God makes a home with us and in us
Abides in you (John 14:17)
You in me, I in you (John 14:20)
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
The Holy Spirit abiding with you and in you. How do I get the Holy Spirit?
Consider your baptism.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Family language, making a home with us and in us, belonging
Through the Sacrament of Baptism,
Sacrament means mystery. We can relate to God the Father as Creator. We can relate to Jesus Christ, who walked this earth and shared our experience. The Holy Spirit is a mystery.
we are initiated into Christ’s holy church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth by water and the Spirit.
We’re part of the Body of Christ, the Family of God, the church. We receive a calling on our life and are empowered to fulfill it. We are given new birth. We are made new.
All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.
In Baptism we recognize the Holy Spirit is already at work in our life, has a plan for our life, already knows us, loves us, is working and calling.
When we receive baptism and the Holy Spirit as babies, we don’t know what we don’t know because we are babies. When we grow up, we may still not know what we don’t know because no one has ever talked to us about the Holy Spirit.
That’s why we’re doing it now. It’s a tremendous gift. The promise of presence that we can know now. We can acknowledge now. That’s how you get the Holy Spirit because the Spirit is already there.
Lord, give me eyes to see. Lord, give me ears to hear. Holy Spirit, I want you in my life.
John 16:7 Jesus said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
You have God with you here forever and ever and ever. You have the Holy Spirit.
Will you acknowledge? Will you receive? Will you awaken? The world is afire and there is One who wants to abide with you and in you. Will you say, “Yes!”
Romans 5:5 Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Last week we read the story of Pentecost. (Acts 2) Over and over again it talked about pouring and filling and pouring and filling. Romans 5:5 is another scripture which talks about the Holy Spirit being poured into our lives.
These scriptures draw us to a very important question: Why do you want a relationship with God? Has your why changed over the years?
Some would say, “It’s the right thing to do.” Others would say, “I was raised this way. I was carried into the church in the arms of my family. I’ve always had a relationship with God.”
When I first started pursuing a relationship with God, I was 15 years old and I didn’t want to burn in hell. I was scared to death and scared of death. I’d seen a TV show about the end of the world. There wasn’t an adult around to tell me this was opinion, not necessarily fact. The idea of “turn or burn” was reinforced at the neighborhood church I began attending.
Over time my why has changed. Instead of being a fearful slave of God, it changed into a relationship of grace, love, and hope. I’m eternally grateful for that.
The “why” of us wanting to have a relationship with God is really important because it colors everything.
How we see God and understand God
How we read scripture
How we look at serving, grace, hope, and eternal life
It’s important to check our motivations from time to time. Our motivation can be like a faucet. It can direct the flow of the Holy Spirit in our life. If our motivation is twisted in the wrong way, it can turn off the flow of the Holy Spirit.
Today, we’re reading a cautionary tale. The scriptures are full of examples to follow and examples to avoid. This is one to avoid.
Side Note: There is nothing wrong with magic. The problem is Simon’s heart, not that he’s a magician.
Simon the Magician desired a relationship with God so God could be a means to an end. Jesus was a Divine Santa Claus to give him everything on his wish list. The Holy Spirit, a Cosmic Insider to hook him up with power, fame, and social status.
Am I like Simon? Simon’s story is a cautionary tale – full of wrong motivations. When we come across a story like this it’s important for us to pause, hold up a mirror, and ask, “Am I like Simon?” What’s my motivation for desiring a relationship with God? Why do I want the Holy Spirit?
It matters. It matters a great deal. It can be the difference between the Holy Spirit flowing in our lives and the turning off of the Spirit of God.
Wrong Motivation: Draw Attention to Yourself
Right Motivation: Draw Attention to God
Acts 8:9b-10, Simon likes showing-off. He is hungry for attention and fame. [Simon boasted] saying that he was someone great. 10 All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”
Acts 8:12-13, Philip draws attention to God 12 But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.
Phillip is filled with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the good news and perform real signs and wonders, not magical illusions. Lives are being transformed and he keeps pointing them to Jesus. He does nothing for personal gain or status. He’s like Vanna on Wheel of Fortune, he points to the Word, constantly pointing people to Jesus.
Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
We let our light shine so others say, “Look what God is doing! Yay God!”
Example: Trinity Director of Traditional Music, LaTerry Butler, always replying to a compliment with, “Thanks be to God… Glory to God… Blessed be the Name…”
Wrong Motivation: Be THE Leader (Not be a leader. Phillip, Peter, and John are all leaders.) Who is sitting on the throne of your heart?
Right Motivation: Follow Jesus
Acts 8:10, 11 both report the crowds listened eagerly to Simon. The people followed him and treated him like a god. Simon did not correct them. He liked it.
God is my co-pilot. No, God is the pilot.
Wrong Motivation: Build up Myself
Right Motivation: Build Up Others
Acts 8:18-20, Simon wants to buy God’s power for his own benefit 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”
Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin, Bob Neuwirth, Michael Mcclure
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends. So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV? Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me. I wait for delivery each day until three. So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town? I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down. Prove that you love me and buy the next round. Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
What are we to do? Phillip, Peter, and John model it for us. They are always following Jesus and always pointing to Jesus. Jesus is the leader and forgiver of their lives, their Lord and Savior.
Peters speaks the truth in love to Simon. Your heart is wrong! You need to repent. You need to turn away from this and turn towards God.
Simon says, “Pray for me.” (Acts 8:24) Simon is open to change and that’s the good news for all of us.
God keeps reaching out to us again and again and again. To create in us a clean heart, to renew in us a right spirit, to restore to us the joy of our salvation, and place in us a willing spirit.
It is a journey. We can turn and learn and become the people we were meant to be.
There’s good news in the awakening. There’s good news in realizing I haven’t given that over to God yet. There’s time to do it.
Why do you want a relationship with God? Who’s sitting on the throne of your heart? How can you more and more point to Jesus?
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Holy Spirit, pour out your power
Holy Spirit, pour out your presence
Holy Spirit, pour out your truth
Holy Spirit, pour out your life
Grace upon grace
Strength upon strength
Life upon life
In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Holy Spirit, Holy One
Holy Spirit, Descending Dove
Alight on me that I may know your presence
Anoint me that I may know your call
Fill me that I may know your power
Guide me that I may know your path
Name me that I may know, that I know, that I know who I am
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Holy Spirit, come again as Guiding Fire,
Lighting the way though our wilderness
Come, Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, come again as Cleansing Fire,
Burning away all that is false and fruitless
Come, Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, come again as Refining Fire,
Making our words, our ways, and our hearts pure
Come, Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, come again as Prophetic Fire,
Releasing the Gospel shut up in our bones
Come, Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, come again as Empowering Fire,
Granting gifts to heal and transform the world
Come, Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, come again as Unifying Fire,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven