This Sunday is Pentecost, a celebration for renewal of spirit within oneself and/or a celebration of the Holy Spirit giving God’s wisdom to the disciples. Pentecost is a day of the new spirit, a day of a new beginning.
Have you ever put together a puzzle? Robin and the Girls love to work them, they are a lot of fun and are also quite a challenge. When you work a puzzle, there are several things that are very important. First, you will notice that there is a picture on the box of what it is supposed to look like. It would be almost impossible to work a puzzle if we didn't know what it was supposed to look like when we finished. There are many pieces of different sizes and shapes and you need to know how they all fit together.
The apostle Paul calls us God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. I like that. When Paul calls us God's workmanship, in some ways we are like God's love song, His masterpiece.
When it comes to faith, many of us want formulas. A + B = C, we want linear steps. We want straightforward answers to our questions, but often, when Jesus was asked a question, he didn't respond with a straightforward answer. Often, he would say, "It's like this," and he would proceed to tell a story. These stories are what we call parables
Probably many of you go to work every day under the same philosophy of work that I do. My philosophy of work is, "Work like it is up to me; pray like it's up to God." I think I speak for many of us when I say we never make it past the semi-colon. We work under the anxiety-provoking misbelief that at work it's all up to us. This means we cannot rest. How could I rest if it was all up to me?
Imagine for a moment that you are God. Just play along with me for a second. Imagine that you are God and you are getting ready to send your Son, Jesus, into the world. You're going to send him down into the world, and this is the moment you've been waiting for ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
A couple of years ago we purchased a pre-lit Christmas tree. It may have saved our marriage. Let’s just say Robin enjoys the Christmas decorations more than the rest of my household does. What would Christmas be without the beautiful lights? Traditionally lights on the tree have been used to symbolize Christ, the light of the world (John 8:12). Edward Johnson, who worked with Thomas Edison, invented the first string of electric Christmas lights, which were mass produced in 1890. People have been lighting their trees ever since.
Most people in America are familiar with this passage; we read at Christmas time, even if they rarely crack open a Bible. These verses from Luke have even entered the popular culture, through Linus’ famous speech in the Charlie Brown Christmas video. Every December since 1965, in between televised scenes of the Grinch slithering around Whoville, and George Bailey being saved by Clarence the angel, and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer running around the North Pole with Herbie (an elf who wants to be a dentist), we have Linus, who discovers the true meaning of Christmas in the gospel of St. Luke, chapter 2.
A lot of times I get confused about what is really the main thing in life. But 2,000 years ago, a man that history tells us was physically rather small and unimpressive, in marginal health, spent a lot of his life in chains, did not have long to live, figured it out and wrote these words. He talked to the church at Colossae about how the hope of glory is Christ in you. He says, (Colossians 1:28) We proclaim Him. We proclaim Christ, teaching everyone that admonishing everyone with all wisdom so that we might present everyone mature in Christ. Paul says, for this I labor, struggling with all His energy that so powerfully works in me.
There’s this wonderful word I used to not like but have come to love, and that is to lean in to accountability. Let's say you're on the freeway and it is chaos. People are driving badly. They're speeding. They're weaving. They're cutting each other off. They're texting. They're talking on cell phones. They're getting distracted. They're getting angry. They're making non faith-based gestures at each other.