Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!
For the month of May we’ve been used Family Conversations as our theme. And as I think about Pentecost, which we will celebrate this Sunday, plus Memorial Day, which we will also honor on Sunday, one image kept coming to my mind. A good old fashioned house party!
Now, maybe you called it a family reunion or family get together, but what I’m talking about is just gathering with family, immediate and extended, and sharing a meal together. Maybe you’ve had an experience of doing that. If not, let me tell you ‘bout a story of a family named House. Well, we weren’t quite like the Beverly Hillbillies, but I truly enjoy the memories of quirky uncles, gossipy cousins, and aunties who loved to hug!
We had our first family gathering, post-pandemic, at my house. It was for Thanksgiving. And at one point, I stood back and marveled at the scene. There were folks in the living room talking, some in the dining room talking, in the hallway, and in the most popular room of the house – the kitchen. And what were they doing? Talking!
And here’s what I noticed – the house was full of sound! Coming from all directions. Some conversations I could make out, but others I couldn’t. And my young adult cousins, who are all women now, I didn’t even try to figure out what they were talking about! But each conversation, even though they weren’t connected, brought us together in one house, as one family.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Who was all together? The believers! Acts 1:15 says that it was about one hundred twenty of them at that time. Luke’s account of Pentecost shows us God’s promise to Israel, and Jesus’ promise to the disciples being fulfilled. Stay, wait in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will give you power from on high!
And since there were so many believers gathered, most likely they were not in a house, but perhaps in the Temple courts. This was the harvest celebration, the Festival of Weeks, so there would’ve been folks from all over coming to Jerusalem to celebrate by bringing their offerings. Just imagine one great big potluck celebration!
And when God’s people get together, you can look for God to show up! The Holy Spirit came rushing in like the wind and filled all of them! Not only were they filled, but they began to speak in other languages, all at once! Imagine the ruckus! Reminds me of my house full of people at Thanksgiving. It was a ruckus!
And the amazing thing, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, is that other folks who were there from other regions heard and understood them!
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? …we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
You can imagine their confusion. These were Galileans speaking, yet people from other areas could understand them. What does it mean? And what does it mean for us? Could it be that God speaks our language? Could it be that the Holy Spirit knows just how to get a message across to us in a way that we will understand? What does this mean?
Join us for worship this Pentecost Sunday, as we continue the sermon series Family Conversations with the sermon: House Party, and let’s talk about what Pentecost means to the believer today. You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Assisted Listening Devices are available to anyone who needs an extra boost in hearing worship service. We have quite a few available. Just go to the sound booth and request one.
WOW (our weekly Bible study) will be on summer break until August. But don’t forget that we have RightNow Media! The program that has thousands of Bible studies for every age level. And the subscription is free to you! If you don’t have an account but would like to sign up, just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Conference The MO Annual Conference will be in St. Charles for the next two years! That means you can see what happens when every Missouri pastor, district superintendent, lay delegate, and the Bishop gather in one room to conference, and do the work of the church! There will be a Memorial Service, Retirement Service, and Ordination Service over the course of the weekend. The dates this year are June 9-11. Visitors can attend sessions for free. NOTE: On Friday, June 9 at 7:00pm, there will be a FREE concert by the Grammy Award winning Gospel artist Bebe Winans! For more information, including the agenda, click on this link: AGENDA — MOAC23 (moacinfo.com).
Many Voices, One God In the month of June you’ll have the opportunity to hear many voices expound on our great God! I’ll preach on the first Sunday, and here’s the rest of the lineup:
6/11 Rev. Rocky Marlowe
6/18 Scott Lambert (Father’s Day)
6/25 Rev. G-Gay Harris
What a blessing to hear what the Lord will say through His servants!
Zufan Hailemariam, our Business Manager, will be leaving her position in mid-June and starting a new chapter. We will have a celebration for her to honor her eleven years of dedicated service to GT and bless her as she goes forth! The date will be announced soon.
Stay in the Know! Don’t forget to pick up this month’s Memory Verse Card, and the printed newsletter at the Welcome Center or the Coffee Station. Just our way of helping you to stay in the know!
May Memory Verse:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
Those who build it labor in vain.”
See you Sunday – and if you’re inclined, wear red for Pentecost (not the Cardinals)!