Sermon Recording- People on Fire (Acts 2.1-4)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 5 of 6: People on Fire
Scriptures: Acts 2:1-4
This message was offered Sunday, 5/20/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Happy Pentecost!

Matthew 3:11, NRSV   In preparing the people for the coming of Jesus, John the Baptist promised, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Acts 1:5-8 NRSV, selected verses   On the day in which he ascended to heaven, Jesus promised, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 2:1-4, NRSV   Ten days later, Jesus fulfilled his promises. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7 NIV   Paul later counseled Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Prayer by Gene Barlett: Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

Sermon Subpage Header Fire

Excerpt from Tongues by Steve Garnaas Holmes

  • What if God is still doing Pentecost?
  • What if God wants to say something through you? Is it getting spoken? Is it getting sent?
  • What if you are the Word God is trying to get out?
  • What if you are the language in which God expresses love?
  • What if there are ways, even beyond your own knowing, that others hear God’s good news through your life?
  • What if God gives you everything you need to do this?

The Power of the Holy Spirit isn’t just for long ago, it is a gift that comes again, again, again. It is God’s divine, empowering presence generation after generation.

  • Moses and the Burning Bush
  • The Pillar of Flame leading the people from slavery through the wilderness to the promised land
  • The Dancing Tongues of Fire on the heads of the faithful at Pentecost
  • Francis/Clare of Assisi
  • Susanna/John Wesley
  • Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Dr. King
  • It’s in you, a gift for all who believe

Draw close to the fire
Being “on fire” = focused, all in, achieving, in the zone, unstoppable

This is what it means to be followers of Jesus, to be the church, we are a people on fire

Brennan Manning Quote: The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love.

This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. 

Between Acts 1:5-8 and Acts 2:1-4, the 120 followers of Jesus gathered together and prayed for 9 days together. They drew close to the fire. They were “men and women who surrendered to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within… who entered into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ.”

Illustration of the coal and the fire

Draw close to the fire
The Fire of God

  • Consumes falsehood, sin, self-centeredness, apathy, fear
  • Purifies our motives
  • Lights us up. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.”
  • Empowers us to live and to act in faith

Draw close to the fire

Prayer by Gene Barlett: Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Soft and Steadfast, a prayer based on Hebrews 3:7-14

soft-heart-cruel-world-2

Hebrews 3:7-14, The Voice

Merciful One, soften my heart

Save me from hardheartedness
From evil and deceit
From mutiny and unbelief

Turn and return me
From wandering away
From petrifying slowly

Make my heart pure
Open to you
Wanting what you want

Make my heart true
Confident in you
Holding fast

Make my heart noble
Quick to listen
Rejoicing in your direction

Jesus
Heart of my heart
Keep me soft and steadfast in your nail scarred hands

Extended quote by John R. Wimmer, Blessed Endurance
The words joy rejoice as they appear in James and First Peter do not mean what they seem at first glance. The rejoicing we find here is not a shallow, syrupy, or optimistic refusal to admit that problems exist; instead, it is the realistic recognition of struggle bolstered by the decision to rejoice in knowing that God is working to bring us through strife to greater spiritual depth. Yes, it may be tough if not impossible to rejoice when suffering, but such joy will not take the form of emotional jubilance or elation.

James proclaims that suffering may be considered as joy when the encounter produces the spiritual virtue of steadfastness. And steadfastness, when allowed to flower into fullness, produces the most attractive bloom of all qualities: Christian maturity.

Authentic Christian maturity, then, is a steadfastness that we attain not by denial. It is a quality that, like any other kind of maturity, accrues with age, hard work, and a lot of bruising experience. It is the ability to redirect our thoughts beyond immediate woes in order to realize the spiritual growth that results from tests of faith.

*************
Prayer: Soft and Steadfast © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Your Word is a Fire (Jeremiah 20:9)

matches-heart-2

Jeremiah 20:9
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Mighty and Mysterious One
Your word is a fire
Your word burns and burns- refining, purifying
Your word is an explosion, a bomb of truth and grace

Who am I to speak for you?
How can I bear your molten heart
these blazing bones
and not be consumed

It is such a holy place
Help me to stay with you and not turn away

*****
Your Word is a Fire © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Save my Soul Good Gardner, a prayer based on the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13.1-9)

seed-sower-jeremy-sams

Based on Matthew 13:1-9

Save my soul, Good Gardener
Evil flies in wanting to steal my hope
Work piles up, insecure boulders ready to crash, leaving no room to root
My faith begins to wither as does our relationship
Distractions grow, choking my gratitude
my perspective
my spirit

Guard me
Guide me
Deliver me
Clear the land
Weed then seed
Nourish the soil of my soul
I long to blossom and bring forth your fruit, a hundred fold

********
Save my Soul Good Gardener © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Soft and Steadfast, a prayer based on Hebrews 3:7-14

soft-heart-cruel-world-2

Hebrews 3:7-14, The Voice

Merciful One, soften my heart

Save me from hardheartedness
From evil and deceit
From mutiny and unbelief

Turn and return me
From wandering away
From petrifying slowly

Make my heart pure
Open to you
Wanting what you want

Make my heart true
Confident in you
Holding fast

Make my heart noble
Quick to listen
Rejoicing in your direction

Jesus
Heart of my heart
Keep me soft and steadfast in your nail scarred hands

Extended quote by John R. Wimmer, Blessed Endurance
The words joy rejoice as they appear in James and First Peter do not mean what they seem at first glance. The rejoicing we find here is not a shallow, syrupy, or optimistic refusal to admit that problems exist; instead, it is the realistic recognition of struggle bolstered by the decision to rejoice in knowing that God is working to bring us through strife to greater spiritual depth. Yes, it may be tough if not impossible to rejoice when suffering, but such joy will not take the form of emotional jubilance or elation.

James proclaims that suffering may be considered as joy when the encounter produces the spiritual virtue of steadfastness. And steadfastness, when allowed to flower into fullness, produces the most attractive bloom of all qualities: Christian maturity.

Authentic Christian maturity, then, is a steadfastness that we attain not by denial. It is a quality that, like any other kind of maturity, accrues with age, hard work, and a lot of bruising experience. It is the ability to redirect our thoughts beyond immediate woes in order to realize the spiritual growth that results from tests of faith.

*************
Prayer: Soft and Steadfast © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: King of Glory, Lift Up Our Heads (Psalm 24)

Psalm 24 by Anneke Kaai

Psalm 24 by Anneke Kaai

Psalm 24 NIV
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
The world, and all who live in it;
For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
Who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
Be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
Lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty– he is the King of glory.

Prayer: King of Glory, Lift Up Our Heads
King of Glory
Lift up our heads
You, our Provider and Parent
You, the Maker of All Things New

King of Glory
Lift up our heads
Bowed low beneath the weight of fear
and worry
and falsehood
So much that is out of our control
So much we have brought upon ourselves

King of Glory
Lift up our heads
How can we seek your face with our eyes on the dust?

King of Glory
Lift up our gates
How can you save us if we keep trying to save ourselves?

King of Glory
Lift up the latch on every door
That you may enter in
With Your blessing
Your healing
Your cleansing
Your strength
Your glory

************
Today’s featured artist is Anneke Kaai. Click here for an explanation of her piece, Psalm 24, from the book The Psalms: An Artist’s Impression. Her work was found via Eyekons, a Multi-Tiered Marketplace for Christian Art.

Prayer: King of Glory, Lift Up Our Head © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

7 Letters of Revelation: Holiness, Look Like the One You Love

pureandholyRevelation 2:18-29 NIV
The Risen Christ says, “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations– ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery — just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The first four letters of Christ in Revelation remind us:

  • God is to be our first love. At it’s heart and at it’s start, faith is about relationship. Being precedes doing.
  • We are willing to suffer and sacrifice for who and what we love. This is the depth of God’s love for us. Let us strive to love God this deeply in return.
  • We remain true to who and what we love. As Christ followers, we remain true to His Name. The most ancient confession of faith is the simplest: Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our Leader and Forgiver. No person or thing can take the place of Christ.
  • This relationship, this level of love, trust and devotion transforms how we think and how we live. Over time, we look more and more like the One we love, more and more like Jesus Christ. This is what it means to be holy. – Lisa Degrenia <><

Ephesians 5:25-27 NRSV
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.

Titus 2:11-14 NRSV
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Jesus Christ speaks of [the Christians in Thyatira] in words of warmest commendation. I know your deeds, he writes, your love and faith, your service and perseverance (v 19). Here are four sterling Christian qualities indeed. Thyatira not only rivaled Ephesus in busy Christian service, but exhibited the love which Ephesus lacked, preserved the faith which was imperiled at Pergamum, and shared with Smyrna the virtue of patient endurance in tribulation. … But Thyatira’s catalog of virtues is not exhausted yet. I know your deeds, Christ says, and adds: and that you are now doing more than you did at first. The church of Thyatira understood that the Christian life is a life of growth, of progress, of development… The church of Thyatira displayed love and faith, service and endurance, but holiness is not included among its qualities….Holiness of life and character is then another indispensable mark of the real Christian and true church.
– John Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church: an Exposition of Revelation 1-3

Matthew 23:25-28 NRSV
Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The world is attracted by lived theology and incarnated truth. Brennan Manning believed that the main reason the church does not grow is that Christians do not live, enact, behave, incarnate the Gospel—leaving people to say, “There’s nothing to it.” I completely agree. We do not need another “church growth” conference to assess our situation and propose strategies for increase as much as we need “let’s get serious Sundays” —weekly opportunities to confess that we have failed to turn word into flesh, and to make new commitments to do so. Our hearts will not feel so phony if we do this, and the world will not think we are selling them a bill of goods. Ironic, isn’t it that a pre-school activity— “show and tell” —could turn out to be what we need most. – Steve Harper reflecting on John 13:31-35 in The Holy Gospel: April 28, 2013 (Year C)

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. – Brennan Manning

Revive my heart renew my soul
In You O Lord I am made whole
No more in fear will I wander
‘Cause You’re my God, my Lord and Lover
Like a burning fire, be my one desire
I want to be holy just like You
I want to go where You lead me to
With reckless abandon to Your truth
I want to fall deeper in love with You
And deeper and deeper and deeper
And deeper in love with You
– from Just Like You by Matt Maher, (CCLI Song #4510938)

**********
This is the fourth of seven posts based on themes from Revelation chapters 2-3. In these scriptures, Jesus reveals the timeless message of what His church should look like.

For more information on use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page