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Pastor’s Desk: ‘Growing outward ‘

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Rev. Bill Schnackenberg, Centralia United Methodist Church

We are in the season of Pentecost! Pentecost is often considered the birthday of the church and the start of the Christian growing cycle. So it is an apt description for June and July, a typical growing season in our lives.

Let’s look a bit at what happened on that Pentecost Day, that day of celebration of first fruits. Jesus had already ascended to heaven. As good Jewish believers, his followers were gathered for the celebration. They had just elected their twelfth apostle. Little did they know what was about to happen.

According to Acts, a great and mighty sound filled the house where they were sitting, like the sound of a roaring wind. We’ve heard winds like that here, whether they are straight-line or tornadic. And that sound was confined to the house. Along with it, fire-like tongues rested on everyone there, filling them with the Holy Spirit. All those in that house began to speak in different languages. What a babble that must have sounded like!

The sound was so great that visiting pilgrims from all over the known world came to see what the commotion was all about. What they heard was the good news, the news about the power of God, but in each one’s native language. All these visitors were confused, and even amazed at what was happening. And they believed.

The direction shown us that Pentecost Day is the key to our job now. What is really important, is that the sound that began in that house moved outward. The Holy Spirit’s message was delivered outside the house to the point that 3000 were added to their numbers that day alone.

The Pentecost direction has always been looking outward from ourselves. God has been trying to kick us out of that house where Jesus’ followers had gathered for worship and fellowship. That is, kicking us out for the purpose of making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Our job is to plant the seeds of God’s love, the message of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation, wherever we go, wherever we are, with whomever we meet. God didn’t make distinctions among people then, so neither should we. Great things happen when we step outside our comfort zones!

Once we plant the seeds by the way we live and work, God will grow them through the Holy Spirit’s power. I trust God for that. This is God’s gift to us, that we can look out from ourselves to see possibilities through God’s eyes.

Blessings to all who read this.

Pastor Bi