When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Have you ever read our church website?
“As a United Methodist Church, we are part of the second largest denomination in America, a denomination that has churches in almost every city in the country and a foot print of mission and ministry around the world. Our church has been an active congregation in the Mansfield community for almost 150 years.
Our church is centered in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ who will love God, love others and serve the world. To be a disciple means living out a commitment to follow Jesus. For us, that means growing in deeper love with God and living out an expression of that love in our relationship with others and in our commitment to serve and bless the world.
We believe that God's grace takes root in our hearts and grows in our lives through our involvement in several key ways.
- Corporate worship
We believe that worship is the engine that drives the Christian life, as well as the church. Worship grows out of the deepest longings of our hearts — to be connected to that which is beyond ourselves, the God who is the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all life. We believe that a disciple of Jesus is one who sees his or her own life as being about glorifying God.
- Personal practices
We believe that disciples are those who willingly choose to "discipline" their lives in a particular way. This includes our investment in the study of the Bible, reflecting on how the Bible would lead us to pursue what Jesus described as "life to the full," as well as our devotion to a consistent connection to God through prayer. We think it's important to start each day in the word.
- Generous Living
We believe the story of faith is built on the foundation of a God who loves and a God who gives. Therefore, we see generosity as a primary mark of the disciple of Jesus. This includes the sharing of our resources — our time, our talent and our treasures — for the sake of serving our world. Disciples of Jesus are those who intentionally pursue opportunities to sacrifice for the sake of blessing others. We believe God has called us to be a blessing to our city, our region and our entire world.
- Healthy Relationships
We believe that the primary value of our lives is found in our relationships. A growing relationship with God always leads us into deeper relationship with one another. Loving God is inseparable from our call to love others. Investing ourselves in one another through small groups and other community activities helps foster the maturing of God's grace in our lives.
We believe the church is at her best when the doors are open to all of who have an interest in learning about the Christian faith. Wherever you are on your journey, regardless of where you fall on the deep questions of faith, our community is open to you.”
This morning, I want to encourage you to think about how you are making room for the Church in your life. Using the scripture from Acts paired with the four bullet points above, it becomes clear that making room for the Church in our lives does not simply mean an hour on Sunday mornings. When we make room for the Church in our lives, it completely changes the way we live day to day. It changes our thoughts, our priorities, and our relationships.
I never wanted intimate faith relationships until I entered into my twenties. Once I found myself in a small group my life was forever changed. What next step is God calling you to take today within the Church as a whole?
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
-Wesley Covenant Prayer
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.