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Journey Notes for June

When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples 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. Acts 2:1-4

Dear Friends on the Journey,

We will gather to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit on Sunday, June 4. We remember this day of Pentecost as the birthday of the church, for truly being anointed by the Holy Spirit changed this rag-tag group of disciples into apostles on fire for the Lord. These disciples came out of hiding and boldly proclaimed the good news of all that God had done and was still doing through Jesus Christ. They became witnesses, and they inspired others to join them. Others became followers of The Way not only because of the preaching of Peter, but because they experienced the passion and the enthusiasm that these disciples had. They saw first-hand the love that they shared, their devotion to worship in the temple, their study of the scriptures, their life of prayer and their generous spirit. Others wanted what these disciples had the touch of God’s Spirit. It was evident in their lives, and others were moved to know more and to be a part of this movement of the Holy Spirit. And the number of folks following Jesus grew exponentially.

There are hundreds of books and blogs written today about church growth and just as many “experts” in that field claiming to have all the answers when it comes to increasing our church’s vitality. There are programs and there are strategies, some helpful and some not so helpful, but in reality what will increase the health of any church is a reliance on the Holy Spirit and individuals with passion and enthusiasm willing to witness by word and actions how much God has done for them through Jesus Christ. People out-side the walls of our church need to see that we are different because of God acting in our lives. People need to be convinced that our lives reflect what we proclaim on Sundays. People need to trust that we love them for who they are. People need to see that we are alive in Christ and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us - that’s what enthusiasm literally means - to have God dwelling in you.

So where in our congregation do you see that passion for Christ? How is that enthusiasm evident in your life so that others see it outside of what we do here? How are joy, hope, love and grace made real for those who don’t yet know those gifts of God? I’m afraid we don’t do a very good job of that outside the walls of our facility. Letting others see Christ in us isn’t merely about being able to share our witness in words, although that is important. We should reflect the love of Christ in our everyday actions. Others should see the joy we have, the hope we express, the love we share, the grace and mercy we offer because we have received it from the Holy Spirit. If others don’t see that, our words won’t make any difference as we strive to share the good news.

So I ask again … where is the passion, where is the enthusiasm? If we ask, God will send His Spirit and God will renew us and His Church, and then there will be more excitement and enthusiasm than we could ever begin to imagine. It starts with God, and then it is God working in us. May it be so.

Happy Birthday, Church!
Pastor Arlene